Creating Effective Messages

Nature has pub­lished a short inter­view with psy­cho­lo­gist Robert Gif­ford look­ing at the “inter­face between psy­cho­logy and cli­mate change”.

Not­ing the prob­lem of pubic dis­trust of sci­entif­ic mes­sages that are delivered with uncer­tainty, Gif­ford pro­poses five ele­ments of effect­ive mes­sages*:

  1. It has to have some urgency.
  2. It has to have as much cer­tainty as can be mustered with integ­rity.
  3. There can­’t be just one mes­sage: there must be mes­sages tar­geted to dif­fer­ent groups.
  4. Mes­sages should be framed in pos­it­ive terms. (Evid­ence from a recent thes­is […] shows that people are less will­ing to change their beha­viour if you tell them they have to make sac­ri­fices. If you tell them they can be in the van­guard, be a hero, be the one that helps — that works.)
  5. You have to give people the sense that their vote counts and that their effort won’t be in vain.

This does­n’t apply just to mes­sages on cli­mate change, of course.

via Mind Hacks

*The ori­gin­al art­icle has, since post­ing this, gone behind a pay­wall.