Meijers, M. H. C., Remmelswaal, P., & Wonneberger, A. (2018). Using Visual Impact Metaphors to Stimulate Environmentally Friendly Behavior: The Roles of Response Efficacy and Evaluative Persuasion Knowledge. Environmental Communication. DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2018.1544160

Abstract:
Although people often are aware of the importance of adopting environmentally friendly lifestyles, they might be reluctant to do so as they believe that their actions do not make a difference (i.e. low response efficacy). Furthermore, they might experience reactance (e.g. negative attitudes) towards environmental messages that encourage them to adopt an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Therefore we experimentally tested whether it is possible to stimulate people to adopt an environmentally friendly lifestyle (i.e. recycle more clothing) by using visual impact metaphors that convey the message that old clothes deserve a new life. The findings show that a message in the form of a visual impact metaphor (vs. no visual impact metaphor) results in more positive attitudes towards recycling and stronger recycling intentions. This effect was mediated by two different underlying mechanisms: Response efficacy and more positive attitudes towards the persuasive attempt (i.e. positive evaluative persuasion knowledge).

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