Framing environmental messages

Framing environmental messages

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Framing environmental messages examining audience response to humor, shock, and emotional treatments
Diedring, Kelly
Place of Publication:
[Tampa, Fla]
University of South Florida
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Subjects / Keywords:
Environmental communication
Emotional appeal
Fear appeal
Humor appeal
Behavior change
Dissertations, Academic -- Mass Communications -- Masters -- USF ( lcsh )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine individual reactions to environmental messages based on three message frames. The frames include shock or fear, humor, and emotional frames. The intent of the study was to document, through the use of pre- and post-questionnaires, individuals' reactions to the three types of messages by measuring attitude or perception change, credibility of the message, and importance of the issue. In this study, baseline knowledge levels and beliefs about environmental issues were examined using a pre-questionnaire. How variable treatments affect attitudes or create perception change with regard to the environmental messages were explored. This study was questionnaire based, with results based on one time pre- and post questionnaires of mass communications undergraduate students at the University of South Florida. Along with message framing, McGuire's Information Processing Theory is useful in determining an individual's psychological context, and the steps an individual will take after a message is presented. This theory gives a "good overview of the attitude change process, reminding us that it involves a number of components" (Severin & Tankard, 2001, p. 175). Using these two theories as underpinning, exploration of the effects of different types of Greenpeace messages is possible. Determining which types of frames promote a behavior change in individuals adds to environmental persuasion research, and ultimately assists the designers of environmental messages and the deliverers of environmental communication.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Kelly Diedring.

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E14-SFE0002349 ( USFLDC DOI )
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Framing environmental messages :
b examining audience response to humor, shock, and emotional treatments
h [electronic resource] /
by Kelly Diedring.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 107 pages.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
3 520
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine individual reactions to environmental messages based on three message frames. The frames include shock or fear, humor, and emotional frames. The intent of the study was to document, through the use of pre- and post-questionnaires, individuals' reactions to the three types of messages by measuring attitude or perception change, credibility of the message, and importance of the issue. In this study, baseline knowledge levels and beliefs about environmental issues were examined using a pre-questionnaire. How variable treatments affect attitudes or create perception change with regard to the environmental messages were explored. This study was questionnaire based, with results based on one time pre- and post questionnaires of mass communications undergraduate students at the University of South Florida. Along with message framing, McGuire's Information Processing Theory is useful in determining an individual's psychological context, and the steps an individual will take after a message is presented. This theory gives a "good overview of the attitude change process, reminding us that it involves a number of components" (Severin & Tankard, 2001, p. 175). Using these two theories as underpinning, exploration of the effects of different types of Greenpeace messages is possible. Determining which types of frames promote a behavior change in individuals adds to environmental persuasion research, and ultimately assists the designers of environmental messages and the deliverers of environmental communication.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Advisor: Kenneth Killebrew, Ph.D.
Environmental communication
Emotional appeal
Fear appeal
Humor appeal
Behavior change
Dissertations, Academic
x Mass Communications
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
4 856


Framing Environmental Messages: Examini ng Audience Response to Humor, Shock, and Emotional Treatments by Kelly Diedring A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts College of Arts and Sciences School of Mass Communications University of South Florida Major Professor: Kenneth Killebrew, Ph.D. Larry Leslie, Ph.D. Randy Miller, Ph.D. Date of Approval: April 3, 2008 Keywords: environmental communication, emotional appeal, fear appeal, humor appeal, behavior change, attit ude change, sour ce credibility Copyright 2008, Kelly Diedring


i Table of Contents List of Tables iii List of Figures iv Abstract v Chapter One: Introduction 1 Chapter Two: Literature Review 11 Greenpeace 12 Environmental Communication 13 Framing 14 Fear and Shock Appeal 23 Humor Appeal 26 Emotional Appeal 32 Behavior Change and Credibility 34 Gender 36 Message Effectiveness 38 Hypotheses 40 Chapter Three: Methodology 43 Message Description 44 Data Collection 46 Chapter Four: Results 51 General Discussion 51 Pre-Questionnaires and Post-Questionnaires 53 Post-Questionnaire: Other Questions 54 Hypothesis 1 59 Hypothesis 2 60 Hypothesis 3 61 Additional Findings 62 Results Summary 67 Chapter Five: Conclusion 71 Future Research 72 Limitations of the Study 73


ii References 75 Appendix A: Pre Questionnaire 81 Appendix B: Post Questionnaire 83 Appendix C: Neutral Lecture 88 Appendix D: Neutral Lecture Power Point 92 Appendix E: Emotional Appeal Transcript/Description 100 Appendix F: Humor Appeal Transcript/Description 102 Appendix G: Shock Appeal Tran script/Description 105


iii List of Tables Table 1 Frequencies for Categori cal Demographic Variables 51 Table 2 Frequencies for Expe rimental Groups by Sex 52 Table 3 Means, Standard Deviations, and One-Way Analysis of 53 Variance (ANOVA) for Pretes t and Posttest Scores Table 4 Mean Standard Deviations, and One-Way Analysis of 55 Variance (ANOVA) for Effects of Message Manipulation On Four Scales Table 5 Independent t-tests to Address Hypotheses 59 Table 6 Descriptive Statistics for Dependent Variables and Covariate Broken Down by Expe rimental Group and Sex 61 Table 7 Two-Way Analysis of Vari ance (ANOVA) for Experimental 63 Group and Sex with Skepticism as Covariate for Three Dependent Variables without Control Group


iv List of Figures Figure 1 Means for Attitude Change Across the Four Treatment Groups 56 Figure 2 Means for Credibility Across the Four Treatment Groups 57 Figure 3 Means for Importance Across the Four Treatment Groups 57 Figure 4 Means for Skepticism across the Four Treatment Groups 58 Figure 5 Estimated Marginal Means of Attitude Change by Treatment 64 Group and Sex with Skepticism as a Covariate Figure 6 Estimated Marginal Means of Credibility by Treatment Group 64 And Sex with Skepticism as a Covariate Figure 7 Estimated Marginal Means of Importance by Treatment Group 65 With Skepticism as a Covariate


v Framing Environmental Messages: Examini ng Audience Response to Humor, Shock, and Emotional Treatments Kelly Diedring ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to examin e individual reactions to environmental messages based on three message frames. The frames include shock or fear, humor, and emotional frames. The intent of the study wa s to document, through the use of preand post-questionnaires, individuals reactions to the three ty pes of messages by measuring attitude or perception change, credibility of the me ssage, and importance of the issue. In this study, baseline knowledge levels and beliefs about environmental issues were examined using a pre-questionnaire. How variable treatments affect attitudes or create perception change with regard to the environmental messages were explored. This study was questionnaire based, with resu lts based on one time preand post questionnaires of mass communications underg raduate students at the University of South Florida. Along with message framing, McGuire’s Info rmation Processing Theory is useful in determining an individual’s psychological co ntext, and the steps an individual will take after a message is presented. This theory gives a “good overview of the attitude change process, reminding us that it involves a number of com ponents” (Severin & Tankard, 2001, p. 175). Using these two theories as unde rpinning, exploration of the effects of different types of Greenpeace messages is possible.


vi Determining which types of frames prom ote a behavior change in individuals adds to environmental persuasion research, and ultimately assists the designers of environmental messages and the delivere rs of environmental communication. Keywords: environmental communication, emot ional appeal, fear appeal, humor appeal, behavior change, attitude change, source credibility


1 Chapter One Introduction Environmental messaging, environmen tal communication, and environmental persuasion have come again to the forefr ont over the last seve ral years. “Going green” has suddenly become very trendy. Mainstream documentaries and science programs have gripped America’s attenti on demanding debate on both sides of the issue. Being “eco-friendly” has become an important part of our political and moral discussions, and companies all over the na tion now use their “green products” or “green choices” as selling points in adve rtising. Celebrities broadcast their earth friendly lifestyles and messages in an effort to appeal to the masses. Public service announcements and commercials from envi ronmental groups are on television, radio, and the Internet. With the influx of inform ation, people may be left with a number of questions. What environmenta l issues are important? What environmental issues can I have an affect on? Which messages are credible, and which are not? Who should I listen to? It is important to gather informa tion in an attempt to answer some of these questions. Environmentalism in the United States and the mass media came together around 1969. This is the year in which images of planet Earth were broadcast to the public (Allan, Adam, & Carter, 2000). It was at this time that Americans began displaying an interest in creating harmony “between humankind and the only Earth we have; and reporters and editors watche d – and responded” (Schoenfeld, Meier, &


2 Griffin, 1979, 43). Around this same time, many environmental disasters were occurring. These include the break-up of a super-tanker (Allan et al., 2000), underground tests for nuclear weapons off th e coast of Alaska (van Ginneken, 2003), and the Santa Barbara Channel Un ion Oil leak (Allan et al., 2000). At this same time, the grassroots organization Greenpeace began using the media in ways that no other organization had done until this point. Greenpeace, using the practice of “bearing witn ess,” went one step further “by making the [ir] actions highly symbolic, visual, spectac ular, and perfectly attuned to the pictorial news age” (van Ginneken, 2003, p.127). As time went on, Greenpeace focused its opposition on and around objects with high publicity value, including the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, and the Sydney Opera House, so as to identify with the minds of the public (van Ginneken, 2003). Due largely to the amount of publicity it was able to generate in a short amount of time, Greenpeace eventually develo ped into an international organization and effective environmental activist group. Their purposes were two-fold. They wanted to stop the degradation of the envi ronment by various organizations, but they also wanted to draw the public into their cause in order to create empathy and support for the environmental movement. Accordi ng to van Ginneken ( 2003), “their actions would usually provoke a scuffle, provide dr ama, and attract media coverage. Photo and film crews would relay their message. They kept it simple: well-chosen places and times; feasible demands and clear issues Spokes(wo)men were carefully trained in photo ops and sound bites. Journalists we re carefully selected and invited along”


3 (p.128). Greenpeace focused their efforts on the mass media and directing attention to their cause. Since the initial movement toward co mmunicating environmental messages to the masses, the media in general have st ruggled with an appropriate form of communication that works on a broad level. Allen et al. (2000) states “it quickly became apparent to many reporters seeking to translate the complex language routinely employed by these claims-makers th at it would be necessary, in turn, to develop a distinct vocabulary to interpret the environment as ‘news’ for the benefit of audiences anxious to understa nd the long-term implications of these events for their own lives” (p. 3). Throughout the 1970’s and into the 1980’s, environmental issue salience in the mass media fluctuated depending on what other human-interest stories were going on around that time period. Guber (2003) claims that while interest in the environment has remained relatively constant over the last thirty years, it has shifted around “definitive peaks and troughs” (p. 57) These peaks and troughs generally have to do with how the economy is doing at any particular time. In an interview with an environmental reporter, Schoenfe ld (1980) cites the following words of an environmental beat writer: Do you give readers what they should know or something they will read? The challenge of the environmental beat is to convey a sense of immediacy and pertinence, usually by telling the stor y in human terms…I try to find the human element while writing about an increasingly complex world of


4 bewildering facts and figures. Every b eat needs that, but this beat demands it (p. 462). Now into the twenty-first centur y, the running theme challenging news reporters remains. The issue of how to deliver environmental messages to the public effectively is even more pertinent and perh aps more challenging twenty years later. As a news organization begins to package an environmental message, it is faced with many challenges. One of those challenges involves environmental reporters communicating environmental news accurately and without bias. The environmental beat, which was created in the seventies following the growth of the environmental movement, is one of the most difficult specialties in whic h to remain neutral (Corbett, 2006). According to Corbett (2006), “most people c onsider the mass media to be one of the most credible sources of information, a fa r more trusted source than advertising, salespersons, and even government” (p. 215). While people trust reporters, it may be nearly impossible for an environmental beat reporter to remain a neutral presenter of information for a variety of reasons. Indivi duals may not realize that all news reports, environmental or otherwise, ar e “a constructed version of a social reality, a report that necessarily includes some facts and ignores others, and presents one version or frame of reality at the expense of another” (Corbett, 2006, p. 215) Corbett (2006) suggests that environmental reporters are subject to the same constraints and biases that all other reporters of social issues are. Not only do environmental reporters have to sift through scientific data, some of which may contradict itself, they are f aced with a beat that “cuts across all news


5 beats and topics (business, outdoors, legislative, health, science, and so on) and may be in the purview of many differe nt reporters” (Corbett, 2006, p. 217). Environmental issues are complex. Acco rding to Corbett (2006), “because of the complex, scientific nature of many stories, reporters often lack e xpert training and can be easily influenced by special interests, yet remain suspicious of environmental group spokespersons” (p. 217). And due to th e “anti-business stan ce of much of the environmental movement,” reporters and ed itors become skeptical about who is a reliable source (Corbett, 2006, p. 217). An additional challenge is the way in which an environmental message is framed. This will have a substantial imp act on how an audience will respond to or perceive this message. Lakoff (2004) defines frames as “mental structures that shape the way we see the world” (p. xv). Corbe tt (2006) states “just as a picture frame or house frame organizes the inner contents and provides an outer boundary, a news frame is a central organizing idea for ne ws content that supplies a context and suggests what the issue is through the us e of selection, emphasis, exclusion, and elaboration. Simply put, framing is the subjective act of selecting and ordering objective facts” (p. 236). A llan et al. (2000) claims “the news media also trade in cultural views, and through selection and juxtaposition of scenes visualize the environment and environmental risks often in spectacular ways – ways, that is, which help to culturally position us as spectators viewing/se nsing both the ‘wonders’ of nature as well as the awesome nature of environmental threats” (p. 32). The recognition of a news frame is not a new one. The issue of framing can be traced back to the fifties with Gregor y Bateson’s paper (1955), ‘A theory of play


6 and phantasy’ (Allan et al, 2000) Allan et al. cites a clear example of environmental news framing in a series of press releas es that focused on environmental policies regulating wetlands. The conservationist s involved in the issue focused on issues such as wildlife habitats, while the prope rty owners involved were interested in property rights and compensation. As discussed previously, environmenta l issues are complex issues and are often difficult to relay to the public in a way they will understand. According to Allan et al., “as journalist s report on complex issues they depend on available sources. While information in news articles is attributed to their source, it will be just as limited in scope and focus as the selectiv e nature of comments by any particular set of stakeholders or claims-makers on whom journalists depend for information and quotable comments” (p. 47). Interest gr oups and stakeholder groups are often a journalist’s source of informa tion with regard to a partic ular environmental issue. The more often those stakeholder groups get themselves thrust into the public arena, the more that issue will be framed toward the beliefs of that group. The mass media are faced with the task of choosing which issues to present to the public, based on what they gauge as public sentiment at the time. As discussed previously, Greenpeace is an organization that is experienced in issues framing for public awareness. As van Ginneken (2003) states, “Greenpeace often proved to have much more media savvy than the much larger powers it confronted” (p. 128). Using the powerful tool of the mass media, Greenpeace began a movement in the seventies that conti nues to this day. Greenpeace is a common name when one thinks about environmentalis m. This organization has continued to


7 promote their causes using the media, regular ly advertising their plight. When one thinks of Greenpeace, images of individua ls chaining themselves to trees, the clubbing of baby seals, and fo rests being cut down come to mind. Some believe that Greenpeace has become a leader in th e field of strategic environmental communication (van Ginneken, 2003). When communicating any message, the se nder is expecting some level of understanding, or acceptance of their message. Furthermore, the message sender may anticipate some sort of attitude or behavior change following the message. Corbett (2006) states, “although a message is received by an individual, the ‘room’ is very crowded. Even if one little message mana ges to best the competition and reach the ears or eyes of one individual, that person must understand, believe, weigh, and interpret the words and images in the context of her own personal, complex psychology” (p. 57). Understanding what t ypes of messages will affect certain people and which will not is important because, as Corbett states, “although significant social change involves masses of people and institutions, by necessity it must begin with one person and another person and another” (p. 58). The link between framed environmental messages, and how an audience member will interpret a message is in the psychology of that indi vidual. Research shows that we must understand an individual’s psychological cont ext if we are to ever unde rstand how that individual receives and interprets the message (Corbett, 2006). Along with message framing, McGuire’s Information-Processing Theory is useful in determining an individual’s psychological context, and the steps an individual will take after a message is pres ented. This theory gives “a good overview


8 of the attitude-change process, remindi ng us that it involves a number of components” (Severin & Tankard, 2001, p. 175) Using these two theories as an underpinning, exploration of the effects of different types of Greenpeace messages is possible. Greenpeace currently has three di fferent types of environmental messages in the form of public service announcem ents airing throughout the world. Six messages to test have been chosen. Two use fear or shock to convey an environmental issue. Two messages us e emotional appeal to communicate an environmental issue. Two use humor to present an environmental issue. Undergraduate students, both male and fema le, mostly between the ages of 18 and 22, will be exposed to these messages. The e xposure will take place in four scenarios. One group will be exposed to shock or fear appeal. Another will be exposed to emotional appeal messages. A third group will be exposed to humor messaging, and the final, or control group, will be exposed to a content neutral environmental lecture. McGuire’s Information Processing Theo ry is a theory of persuasion and attitude change. Based on an individual’s response to a preand post-questionnaire, prior to and following each type of e nvironmental message, three pieces of information will be sought. First, informati on about attitude or perception change will be measured. In other words, whether the message is effective in changing the attitude or perception an i ndividual has about the issue will be measured. Next, whether the receiver of the message determines the message to be a credible source of information will be measured. In other word s, it needs to be determined whether the individual trusts the source of information. Finally, gauging the level at which an individual feels the issue is an important environm ental issue facing America today


9 will be measured. Demographics will also be gathered in order to gain an understanding of how different people interp ret messages. Emphasis will be placed on the difference between males and females in interpreting the different types of Greenpeace messages. The shock or fear appeal messages were designed by Greenpeace to frighten or scare people into becoming active for th eir cause. These messages are graphic and generally give the receivers a feeling of fear or disgust not only for what they are viewing, but fear for what might happen if they do not do something about the situation. According to Dilla rd and Pfau (2002), “fear is generally aroused when a situation is perceived as bot h threatening to one’s physical or psychological self and out of one’s control” (p. 291) An individual’s response to fear is determined by biological, psychological, and so ciocultural factors. Emotional appeal messages are used to appeal to a receiver’s sense of a variety of emotions including guilt, anger, disgust, happiness, hope and compassion (Dillard & Pfau, 2002). They state, “emotions can stimulate careful information processing. Researchers true to the cogn itive response tradition of persuasion argue that under conditions of m oderate or high elaboration, emotions influence the direction or depth of inform ation processing” (p. 299). Finally, the humor messages use humor, in the form of sarcasm, to provide an environmental message. Dillard and Pf au (2002) claim, “ humor can induce persuasion through its distracting influence, ” but also offer that “humor attempts deemed by an audience to be offensive or inappropriate may be counterproductive to persuasive goals” (p. 296).


10 With the amount of time, effort, and re sources organizations, interest groups, lobbyists, and the government put into e nvironmental messaging, it is increasingly important to determine what types of messages will influence which audiences and in what ways. Corbett (2006) states, “for as long as people have had sentiments about the environment, researchers have tried to measure, understand, and influence them” (p. 58). Many factors come into play when determining attitude change following a message including resources, knowledge, experi ence, values, skills, social factors, and obstacles. Using the way a message is framed alongside the psychological steps an individual may take after being exposed to a message, it may become more clear which type of message is affecting whom, and how. This information can be useful to any organization or institution that is designing environmental messages for its cause. When describing why environmen tal communication is important, Corbett (2006) states, “environmental issues are not ju st the purview and concern of scientists and policymakers, but involve every single individual. Wh ether or not you consider yourself a radical tree hugger, a concerned conservationist, or just an average citizen with other things to think about, enviro nmental communication a nd practices affect you every single day” (p. 11). Research shows that understanding how society communicates about the natural world on an individual level as well as at a group level, verbally and non-verbal ly, will provide important in sights into environmental obstacles of the future (Corbett, 2006). This research is intended to advance knowledge on message framing, particularly environmental message framing.


11 Chapter Two Literature Review Environmental communication has ex isted since humans first began discussing nature. Corbett (2006) define s environmental communication as “the various ways we communicate about the na tural world” (p. 2) Mass communication, as defined by Severin and Tankard (2001), has the following three characteristics: 1. It is directed toward relative ly large, heterogeneous, and anonymous audiences. 2. Messages are transmitted publicly, ar e often timed to reach most audience members simultaneously, and are transient in character. 3. The communicator tends to be or operate within a complex organization that may i nvolve great expense (p. 4). Mass communication concerning the envir onment contains all of the above elements as the communication refers to the environment, or nature. The mass level of environmental communication be gan in the 1960’s. It was at this time that the first photographs from space revealed photographs of the Earth no one had ever seen before (Allan, Adam, & Carter, 2000). These images evoked emotions about the environment that had not been expressed until this point. Graphi c visual images of the planet in its entirety be gan discussions that centered on the fact that this is the only planet we have, and we ought to protect it. Around this same time, several


12 human-caused disasters, including oil dr illing and nuclear testing, were making national headlines, due in large part to a newly formed environmental activist organization called Greenpeace (van Ginneken, 2003). Greenpeace Greenpeace is an organization that was created by a small group of activists that began to form in the late nineteen sixties (van Ginneken, 2003). Greenpeace, named after the original boat that was dedica ted to the environmental causes of this group, became a common name in the media relatively quickly after its inception (Weyler, 2004). Just before Greenpeace’s maiden voyage, Jim Bohlen, one of the founders of Greenpeace, scribbled a note a bout which individuals he wanted on the maiden voyage to Alaska, which was to draw attention to nuclea r testing. The note said “300 to 500 people including press” (Weyler, 2004, p. 67). Immediately, the local newspapers in Ca nada were made aware of the issue, and the Associated Press wire sent the story around the United States (Weyler, 2004). Since it’s beginning, Greenpeace has been renowned for using the media to draw attention to their cause. In describing an activist event that occurred in 1985, Jim Bohlen states, “about two hours before the cruise was expected, the media arrived – by helicopter and van. It was quite a scen e. There, in the middle of the frozen Alberta tundra, representativ es from ABC, CBS, NBC, IT V, and Japan TV, gathered” (Bohlen, 2001, 100). Greenpeace’s use of the mass media has been effective in their campaigns for the environment. They have consistently been able to draw national and international headlines for near ly thirty years (Bohlen, 2001).


13 Environmental Communication Environmental communication takes many forms, including activist-driven initiatives such as Greenpeace. It also takes the form in mainstream and everyday news as a “beat.” After the growth and awareness of environmental causes of the nineteen seventies, the environment b ecame its own news beat. According to Friedman (2004), “the environmental beat ha s never really been stable, riding a cycle of ups and downs like an elevator. Thes e cycles, and consequent increases or decreases in numbers of environmental report ers and their space or air time, appear to be driven by public interest and events, as well as economic conditions” (p. 177). For over thirty years, deliverers of environmental messages have had difficulty in creating and maintaining a str ong public interest in the environment. Because “the environment” is such a br oad topic, journalists have difficulty maintaining a comfort level with such a broad array of issues. Not only are environmental stories occasiona lly thought of as boring, or to o scientific, the array of topics covered under ‘the envir onment’ umbrella is so vast that it requires the skill sets from a variety of reporters (Corbett, 2006). According to Corbett, “on any given day, an environmental story may be assigned to a science specialist, a health care reporter, a general assignment reporter, or even a business reporter. This means that decisions about what environmental stories to cover may be made at numerous levels by editors and individual reporters” (p. 217). Not only are environmental issues far -reaching and broad, they are complex scientific issues. Dillard and Pfau (2002) note “the complexity of most environmental issues, and the solutions to them, can at times seem insurmountable to


14 lay citizens and policy makers alike. The interconnectedness of elements in ecological systems renders most environm ental problems more vexing than even those found in public health, politics, or global economics” (p. 662). On top of the complexity of the issues, conflicting ar guments from scientists holding opposing viewpoints on the same issues a dd to audience co nfusion. Since environmental topics are portra yed to the masses on so many levels, social scientists are left wondering how this diverse array of media coverage affects society. The effects that environmental me dia messages have on an individual are all affected by factors such as “experience, interpersona l communication, selective perception, and message salience” (Corbett, 2006, p. 218). A single message is not going to have a cumulative effect on an individual with regard to behavior or attitude change. A combination of fact ors is likely to affect an in dividual’s opinion, behavior, or attitude about an issue. The way in which environmental messages are framed before, during, and after delivery will aff ect the way an individual processes the information from the message. Framing According to McCombs (2004), “to frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more sali ent in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem, defin ition, causal in terpretation, moral evaluation and/or treatment recommendation for the item described” (p. 87). Lakoff (2004) describes frames as “mental structures that shape the way we see the world” (p. xv). The way a message is portrayed to an audience will have a significant impact on how


15 that audience interprets the message. Th e concept of framing comes from agenda setting theory. McCombs states, “framing is the selection of – and emphasis upon – particular attributes for the media agenda when talking about an object (p. 87). The theory of framing can be traced back to a book written by Erving Goffman (1974). This book, Frame analysis: An essay on the Organization of Experience, suggests “an individuals’ primary framework is either their own socially constructed concepts they perceive as ‘natural’, or a direct reflection of their physical experience” (p. 21). Physical experience includes mass media messages. Before framing became a theory discussion, news coverage of all major issues was discussed as being biased. This bias was either classifi ed as negative, positive, or occasionally neutral (Severin & Tankard, 2001). As more research on framing was undertaken, social science scholars began exploring th e concept that everything presented was essentially packaged, or “f ramed” in a way that would affect the outcome of the message. Entman (1993) stated that media frames perform four functions. Frames define problems, dia gnose causes, make moral judgments, and diagnose remedies. Like all forms of communication, envir onmental communication is subject to framing. Before a message is even distribu ted to the public, framing is taking place. How an environmental issue reaches the desk of a journalist is the beginning of a frame. Journalists are either assigned a part icular issue, or an outsider tip sets off a chain of events that may result in a stor y. The source of the story becomes a frame, and will determine to a large extent, how that story is packaged.


16 Corbett (2006) states “although journalis ts make the ultimate decision of which news tips to act upon and which to ignore, they are none theless subject to influence when newsworthy information is presented to them by outside sources, often by public relations officials empl oyed by large organizations” (p. 219). Environmental news stories coming from public relations professionals are sure to be framed in the light of the organization that they represent. For example, if an organization is the subject of an environmental audit, its public relations representative is sure to communicate issues to the media that casts the organization in a positive light. Items such as what th e organization has done for the environment in the past and conservation fund donations are topics that will reach the reporter from a public relations standpoint. If a journalist happens to interview the Environmental Protection Agency’s aud itor, the story may be communicated differently. Research shows, “when environmen tal groups approach media with information subsidies, they are already at a disadvantage as a less powerful (and perhaps more threatening) en tity in the social system” (Corbett, 2006, p. 222). From a study based in San Francisco, it was f ound that more than fifty percent of environmental news stories were based on f acts and figures mostly from government agencies (Sachsman, 2001). In an area wh ere more than half of the environmental news stories come from government agencies environmental stories presented to the public will likely have similar frames. Environmental news stories are generated not only to create public interest, but also to create an activi st public. Most environmenta l news stories are stories


17 aimed at creating awareness and generally contain a call-to-ac tion. In many cases, greater environmental protection can be afford ed if citizens are willing to pay for it. Research shows, “Americans are willing to pa y for cleaner air and water; they are not, however, willing to pay any price for great er environmental protection” (Bardes & Oldendick, 2003, p. 141). While the American public seems to genuinely want to make a change, they do not want it enough to pay a substantial in crease for goods and services that might be more environmentally friendly. In thes e cases, environmental stories or public service announcements that are not aski ng for or demanding more money may be more effective in convincing the public about certain issues. Perhaps the audience is willing to donate time but not money to a cause they feel is important. The communicators of these messages would wa nt to know this in order to send a message in a way this is not offensive. When delivering news stories about the environment, in many cases, frames are necessary. Because environmental issu es are generally complex and scientific, framing an issue can make the issue more relatable for the public. Environmental stories would not make the evening news if people did not understand them. Corbett (2006) states, “some sort of ordering and c hoosing is necessary, of course. Journalists must actively make sense of an immense quantity of informa tion, selecting some points or news sources as critical, while discarding and downplaying others. News frames help simplify, prioritize, and struct ure the narrative flow of events” (p. 236). Journalists construct these news fram es, but often times the frames do not reflect the journalist’s pers onal influence. Many outside influences including source


18 of the news story, cultural values, an d social power drive frames. Most environmental news stories are framed around the concept of people. In other words, journalists generally attempt to make an environmental news story pertinent to the average individual. Whether they do this by stating the environmental issue as a human-caused issue, or conve ying the story in a way that sends the message “one person can make a difference” depends on the issue being communicated (Corbett, 2006). Along with delivering an issue, envi ronmental news frames usually make an attempt to define a problem, address a soluti on, or define a victim. “Categorizing or labeling incidents or particip ants either as concerned citizens or deviant lawbreakers is a powerful framing device” (Corbett, 2006, p. 239). The same environmental story or issue can play out ma ny different ways in the media depending upon how it is framed. Two frame types are found most often in environmental news stories. These frames are called status quo frames and challenger frames Challenger frames are generally aimed at an activist audience a nd are usually initia ted by environmental groups. Status quo frames are generally used in response to a challenger-framed issue and stress some type of social change (Corbett, 2006). A number of experiments have been pe rformed to evaluate the effects of different environmental frame types on a udience members. Members of one study were asked to view an envir onmental protest story that eith er depicted a high or low degree of support for the status quo. In the ca se of the protest, th e status quo was the police. According to Corbett (2006), “the level of status quo support within the news stories did indeed affect the audience’s pe rceptions of the protest, such as whether


19 police should be criticized a nd whether the audience could id entify with the protestors and their demands” (p. 241). In another situation, audience members we re asked to read an environmental news story. One group was given the news story with the status quo frame, another group was given the same story with a soci al change frame, and a third group was given the same story with a ba lanced frame. Results indi cated that those individuals who read the article framed using a stat us quo frame were much more likely to believe the particular environmental issu e was a hazard to their health (Corbett, 2006). A third experiment used five different articles, e ach with a different frame, discussing a large hog farm. Results indicated that those individua ls that read the article that was framed positively toward the hog farm described the situation in terms of economics. Those individuals that read the articles negatively framing the large hog farm described the issue in envi ronmental terms (Corbett, 2006). As environmental issues become more salient, journalists and environmental issue messengers should become more awar e of the difficulties in communicating such complex messages. Obermiller (1995) discusses three reasons environmental marketing and environmental communications have faced challenges. “One is the lack of resources to con duct sophisticated advertising campaigns or testing of advertisements. A second is perceived cons traints on acceptable types of appeals that might limit use of fear, humor, or anything other than straightfo rward presentation of information. A third is the felt need to communicate large amounts of information, which probably precludes many subtle communication appeals” (p. 55).


20 In one particular experiment, Obermiller discusses what he calls the “sick baby” appeal. This appeal frames a message in a way that focuses on the problem, in hopes that audience members will use their energy to focus on a problem that is severe. In a counterargument, Fine (1990) questions the need to highlight the problem believing that doing so might give a doom-and-gloom message and turn people off. Fine proposed a new approach, calling it the “well ba by” approach. He felt this would “increase belief that one can do something to solve the problem” (Obermiller, 1995, p. 55). Obermiller designed an experiment in which the “sick baby” appeal was tested against the “we ll baby” appeal. He had the following two hypotheses for this experiment: H1: Well baby appeals will be more successf ul (relative to sick baby appeals) when prior salience of the issue is hi gh; sick baby appeals will be more successful (relative to well baby appeals) when prior salien ce of the issue is low. H2: Specific action information will have effects independent of the sick/well baby appeal distinction. A) When i ssue salience is low, specific action information will enhance well baby appeals. B) When issue salience is high, specific action information is likely to be unnecessary, and it will have no additional effect (p. 58). Results indicated that eff ectiveness of the separate appeals is dependent upon the issue. Obermiller concluded, “when dealing with a problem that people regard as relatively unimportant or about which they are relatively unaware the impact of a sick baby appeal may offer advantages. Alternatively, when concern for an issue is


21 high, the sick baby appeal may offer a redundant warning, or worse, cause a boomerang effect” (p. 66). Results of such studies give the deliverers of environmental issues a clearer pict ure for an approach when designing communication about environmental problems. Another experiment on message frami ng as it concerns the environment was conducted using recycling as the base i ssue. Davis (1995) states that while individuals “acknowledge that solutions to environmental problems must be forthcoming, their concern does not easily tr anslate into environm entally responsible behaviors, such as conservation, recy cling, and incorporating environmental considerations in buying pr oducts” (p. 285). Davis’s con cern was in finding out how to present environmental issues in ways that change attitude or be havior intentions. Davis (1995) constructed paragra ph booklets containing eight short paragraphs about recycling. The booklets we re four pages long and depicted test paragraphs representing two types of e nvironmental behavior; “taking less” and “doing more.” Three questions follow ed each paragraph and measured the believability, manipulation, and satisfacti on of each experimental environmental condition. Outcome framing wa s then assessed on a 9-point scale with the endpoints of the scale reading, “this paragraph discu ssed the potential for negative changes or deterioration in environmental quality (c oded 1), and this para graph discussed the potential for positive changes or improvements in environmental quality (coded 9)” (p. 288). Results of the study indicated that fr aming effects do have an impact on an individual’s response to environmental comm unication and intention to participate in


22 environmentally responsible behaviors postexperiment. Results also showed that “individuals in this study popul ation were most favorable (and most influenced by) a communication which emphasized the negative consequences of their own inaction on themselves and their own generation” (D avis, 1995, p. 295). Analysis of the total data set allowed Davis to conclude “inten tions to participate in environmentallyresponsible behaviors are best foster ed through communications which present simple, clear, and understandable actions pr esented in a context which stresses how the target will be personally, negatively aff ected if they contin ue to be inactive participants in environmentally-re sponsible behaviors” (p. 295). A majority of environmental communication studies focus on specific issueframes as opposed to a general presentati on frame. Emphasis was usually placed on positive and negative framing, anthropocentr ic framing, source framing, status quo framing, and challenger framing. The literatu re also suggests that the way in which the entire message is presented can have an effect on percep tion of a message. Research indicates that emotional appeals of various forms, as an overarching frame for an issue, can alter audien ce perception of the issue. Dillard & Pfau (2002) state, “the em otion process, as conceptualized by functional theorists, involves first perceiving an object or event in the environment and appraising its relevance for personal we ll-being” (p. 290). Evoking a variety of emotions, including fear, shock, joy, sadness, anger, compassion, happiness, guilt, humor, and joy will significantly impact an audience’s perception of a message. This is the same across the board, not just w ith environmental messages. However, because environmental messages are genera lly depicted as impacting the self, or


23 perhaps more dramatically, the entire planet these emotions may be heightened as an individual’s sense of security, safety, and we ll-being is threatened. Fear and Shock Appeal Fear or shock messaging is used in environmental communication to frame a message so that an audience member is so shocked by what he or she is witnessing, something must be done about it. Walton (200 0) defines fear appe al as “a persuasive message that attempts to arouse the emotion of fear by depicting a personally relevant and significant threat and then follows this description of the threat by outlining recommendations presented as effective and f easible in deterring the threat” (p. 1). The desired emotion is that the message rece iver feels “some terrible consequence or harm that will befall the individual fo r not adopting the recommended response” (Walton, 2000, p. 1). Walton describes an ad baculum argument as “an argument deriving its strength from app eal to human timidity or fear s; it may contain, implicitly or explicitly, a threat” (p. 24). The first unnamed appearance of an ad baculum argument dates to 1662 (Walton, 2000). This type of appeal became increasingly prevalent through the centuries, and in the early 1940’s, fear and shock appeals were on the increase. In 1956, “the appeal to fear” or “the scare te chnique” were officially documented for the first time(Walton, 2000). Additionally, the 1930 broadcast by Orsen Wells, War of the Worlds became one of the first large scale doc umentations of fear arousal in mass communication. Walton (2000) states, “by ar ousing sufficient fear in a person or a group of people, it is frequently possible to make them believe things which they would reject as false in ca lmer moments” (p. 38).


24 Into the 1900’s, fear, shock, and vi olent appeals were becoming more common. The first complaints about viol ence and the mass media are documented from eighteen ninety-seven onward. The complaints stemmed from violence in “moving pictures”. “The Corbett-Fitzsimm ons fight of 1897, for example, was one of the first moving picture ‘hits.’ A number of observers were distressed at the use of violent themes as a form of general en tertainment” (Newton, 1996, p. 7). As time progressed through the 1900’s to present day, media violence, shock and fear appeal have grown into somewhat of a separate research focus. Tan (1985) points out, “considerable research has been given to fear appeals in the past two decades” (p. 149). In addition, shock or fear appeal s have gone through much scrutiny in the mass media as to their outcome and desire d effects (Walton, 2000). One of the first studies by Janis and Feshbach (1953) points out, “low fear appeals in a message are more effective than high fear appeals in producing attitude change” (Tan, 1985, p. 161). Other studies conducted since then, however, have shown just the opposite. As with all messages, the effectiveness depends on a number of factors. Dillard & Pfau (2002) st ate that fear messages are positively associated with attitude and behavior change but that many factors can a ffect this including age and gender. Fear appeal research indicate s that the following four variables may influence fear messaging: (1) type of f ear, (2) expectation of a message containing reassuring information, (3) type of behavi or advocated, and (4) issue familiarity (Dillard & Pfau, 2002). Many researchers argue that fear or shock advertising sends a


25 helpless message of doom and gloom. Other research suggests th at fear or shock messages should contain a “call to action” to be most effective (Corbett, 2006). Obermiller (1995) states, “given already high concern for the environment, further promotion of the severity of the problem may make it seem too large to be solved” (p. 56). Researchers studying attit ude and behavior change suggest that a more upbeat, or positive emotional framing, such as using humor to lighten a very serious issue may cause and audience me mber to accept the message more easily. Framing a message positively as opposed to negatively could give the communicator an advantage. Dillard & Pfau (2002) indicate, “saving a few dollars a month by conserving energy, for example, may have more citizen appeal than forecasting ahead to black-outs and potential calamity” (p. 663). Gelb, Hong, & Zinkhan (1985) claim the c ontroversial effec tiveness of fear appeals is the relationship be tween the level of fear and the amount of persuasion. In Agres, Edell, and Dubitsky (1990), they disc uss the Drive Explanat ion Model for fear appeals, which states, “the perceived f ear, which is aroused by the persuasive message, creates a state of drive that is unpl easant to the receiver. The receiver must perform some action in order to reduce the drive” (p. 89). According to this model, “the receiver will change his or her att itudes and behaviors as a means of drive reduction” (p. 89). This model predicts that the higher the fear c ontent, the higher the perceived fear of the audience. In Agres, Edell, and Dubitsky (1990), Janis and Feshback (1953) point out, “implicit in the use of fear appeals is the assumption that, when emotional tension is aroused, the audience will become motivat ed to accept the r eassuring beliefs or


26 recommendations advocated by the communicator in order to reduce the tension” (p. 90). This approach means that as fear in creases, the attitudes of the audience will more closely be linked to the recommende d attitude of the message” (Agres, Edell, and Dubitsky, 1990, p. 89). According to Agres, Edell, and Dub itsky (1990), “the most common use of fear is social disapproval” (p. 94). Evan s, Rozelle, Lasater, Dembroski, and Allen (1970) found that fear was more effective “in persuading potential customers when it dealt with social rather than physical threats” (p. 94). As in most advertising appeals, fear or shock effectiveness depends upon the audience. In Agres, Edell and Dubitsky (1990), Ray and Wilkie (1970) claim, “fear a ppeals are most likely to be persuasive when the receiver is self-confident and less subject to anxieties” (p. 94). In the same text, Stuteville (1970) claims, “fear appeals are more likely to be effective when the level of anxiety is moderate, rather than hi gh or low, and when the consumer can take some action based on the appeal” (p. 94). Following Stuteville’s claims, environmental messages concluding with a ca ll to action may be most effective when using shock or fear appeals. HumorAppeal There are well over thirty advertisin g studies on the use of humor in advertising and mass communication (Oakner, 2002). According to Oakner (2002), “humor is one of the most commonly empl oyed communication strategies” (p. 1). He goes on to state “humor, when used a ppropriately, can incr ease the recall of advertising messages, raise th e level of favorability towa rd the ad, and improve the impact of the ad among its ta rget audiences” (p. 2).


27 According to Gulas and Weinberger (2006), the first concrete documented uses of humor in advertising can be tr aced back to England. George Packwood, a razor strop and razor strop paste salesman, began using humor for advertising in the late seventeen hundreds. He utilized methods such as “riddles, proverbs, fables, slogans, jokes, jingles, anecdotes, facts, aphorisms, puns, poems, songs, nursery rhymes, parodies, pastiches, stories, dial ogues, definitions, conundrums, letters, and metaphors” (p. 4). The first periodical ad featuring a humorous illustration can be attributed to Warren’s Shoe Blacking from 1820. (Gulas & Weinberger, 2006). This ad featured a cat hissi ng at its own reflection on a sh iny boot and proved to be quite successful. While these ads were some of the first documented uses of humor in advertising, Gulas and Weinberger state, “ humor in advertising certainly predates Packwood and may extend back to the ve ry beginnings of advertising, broadly defined” (p. 7). The use of humor in advertising did not become a mainstream accepted practice for many years. “In the United St ates it was not until the beginning of the twentieth century that main stream advertising evolved beyond simple declarative statements” (Gulas & Weinberger, 2006, p. 9) Oakner (2002) claims, “even as late as the mid-1950’s, advertising agencies, on be half of their client s, treated copy as sacred as the Bill of Rights” (p. 3). Humor used in an advertisement in the early 1960’s was considered risky and dangerous (Oakner, 2002). During the 1960’s and 1970’s, humor was considered a “hotly de bated topic” among advertising executives and press in the industry (Oakner, 20 02, p. 3). When the first humorous advertisements were succe ssful in the mid 1970’s, it wa s considered groundbreaking.


28 At this time, humor was only used for “fun” lifestyle products such as beverages, deodorants, and household cleaners (Oakner, 2002). “It was only in the late 1970’s that humor was acceptable for more seri ous advertisers, including banks, life insurance, and Time magazine” (Oakner, 2002, p. 3). Cantor (1976) states, “in addition to serving as the central element of much “pure entertainment” fare, humor seems to be becoming a more and more prev alent component of traditionally serious offerings, particularly on tele vision” (p. 501). One of the reasons many ads were not made humorous “had to do with the extreme level of control that agencies exerted over every aspect of the presentation” (Oakner, 2002, p. 3). During the 1950’s, 1960’ s, and into the 1970’s, companies used radio as one of their main forms of adve rtising. Oakner (2002) points out, “in the early days of commercial radio, many of the top radio programs were packaged by the leading advertising agencies as single s ponsor vehicles for their major clients. This gave sponsors and their agency representatives tremendous power over everything, from the content and personalities in the shows to the ads” (p. 3). As humor gradually made its way into radio advertising messages, agencies began to study whether or not this approach was working. Jack Benny became one of the first radio comedians to spoof his sponsors. To prove that humor had a positive effect, “the Young & Rubicam ad agency conducted national research to determine whether listen ers could identify the sponsor of the Jack Benny program. Benny’s was the only radio show on the air to score a 91 percent immediate sponsor recall – a record that ha d never been bested. It was proof that


29 humor was a powerful tool in helping s ponsors communicate their message” (Oakner, 2002, p. 6). As television became more popular, humor became a generally accepted practice in advertising. In the 1970’s, Ca ntor (1976) stated, “many news programs have become more entertainment orie nted: Announcers frequently joke among themselves and often add humorous stories which would not be selected on the basis of their “news value” alone (p. 502). A ccording to Gulas and Weinberger (2006), “television fueled a spending and creativ e advertising revolution that gave the advertising agencies a new platform and set of tools to express humor” (p. 16). Super Bowl ads of nineteen eighty four, th e Apple Macintosh ad in particular, revolutionized Super Bowl advertising and demonstrated the “importance of breaking through the clutter” (Gulas & Weinberger, 2006, p. 17). Every year since then, the importance of humor and Super Bowl advertising has risen, and humor advertisements in mass communication ha ve become a popular practice. The term humor comes with multiple definitions. According to Weinberger and Gulas (1992), “an all-encompassing defin ition of humor does not exist” (p. 49). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2004) defines humor as “comical or amusing entertainment” (351). Gulas and Weinberger (2006) point out three factors at play if humor is to be effective. The first is a “change of psychological state that involves either a shift in cognition (serious to non-seri ous state) and/or aff ect (boost in positive feelings or release of suppressed feeli ngs)” (p. 33). Second, “the change of psychological state must be sudden. To la ugh, we need to be caught off guard” (p.


30 33). Finally, “the psychological shift must be pleasant. The result is a feeling of amusement or mirth, which may or may not result in laughter” (p. 33). The use of humor in advertising is gene rally used to put the audience into a happy state, or a state that may allow for higher acceptance of a message. “The most recent review of humor in advertising sugge sts that humor’s persuasive influence is most likely found in the context of new, low involvement, and or feeling-oriented products” (David & Pfau, 2002, p. 296). Envi ronmental messages are generally not thought of as new, or low-involvement. C ountering that research, certain experiments have shown that humor can be an extremely effective persuasive technique because of its distracting influence (David & Pfau, 2002). Cantor (1976) conducted one of the firs t content analysis studies examining humor. She was attempting to determine “ how much time is spent, proportionally, in trying to be funny as opposed to being serious ? How much of a part does humor play in the different types of programming whic h occur on television? How prevalent is humor in television commercial s?” (p. 502). The data were analyzed “in terms of the occurrence and duration of humorous appeal s for the programming in general, for the different program types, and for the diffe rent times of assessment” (p. 505). Examining a total of 301 programs, Cantor determined “humor indeed is a highly pervasive component of br oadcast television. More than 80% of the programs sampled contained at least one atte mpt to be humorous” (p. 508). Additional research also s hows that what is interpre ted as humor differs across ethnicities, subcultures, political affiliati on, age, gender, education level, brand or product experience, and sense of humor (Gulas & Weinberger, 2006). “An ethnic


31 joke told by a member of a given ethnic group to an audience consisting of members of the same ethnic group is a high commonality situation. Thus the joke is likely to be perceived as humorous. However, the sa me joke told by an outsider, one with no perceived commonality, would likely be interpreted as offensive” (Gulas & Weinberger, 2006, p. 50). Studies have found “a gender effect for response to humor may in fact have found a gender effect for a particular humorous execution” (p. 193). In other words, men and women appreci ate different types of humor. Many studies indicate, “the distractio n effect of humor might lead to persuasion” (Gulas & Weinberger, 2006, p. 114). However, many of these studies point out that the persuasive effectiveness of humor may not be greater than serious or emotional appeals. Brooker (1981) found a humorous appeal to be more persuasive than a fear appeal. The same study found neither humor nor fear to be more persuasive than a st raightforward approach. According to Gulas & Weinberger (2006), “overall the adver tising literature has produced at least ten findings that found a positive effect of humor on persuasion. Five other studies produced equivocal findings” (p. 115). Gulas & Weinberger (2006) conclude, “since humor has a significant role in human behavior, it is natural that humor would have a role in marketing communications” (p.189). Humor advertising is as complex as any other fo rm of advertising and depends on a number of factors including type of humor, target audience, and intended message.


32 Emotional Appeal Finally, emotional appeal when comm unicating environmental messages is a specific type of appeal that targets a broad range of positive and negative sensing emotions including compassion, guilt, hope, empathy, disgust, and anger. These appeals usually use a broad array of stimul ating visual images to draw an audience member into a place where he or she may be disgusted by the present situation, but uplifted by hope for the future. Tan (1995) states, “emotional appeals argue for a given belief by pointing out the desirability of consequents that would follow from holding the given be lief” (p. 150). According to Anderson and Guerrero (1998), “although the worldwide scientific study of emo tion dates back to the 19th century, it is only within the past two decades that emotions have been studied extensively within social contexts” (p. 4). Researchers point out that emotions in the mass communications context date back to the earliest poets a nd novelists. However, social scientists have only just begun empirical work based on emotion and the appeal to emo tions (Anderson & Guerrero, 1998). There are many definitions of emotion. Ortony, Clore, and Foss (1987) define emotions as specific “internal mental states that are focused primarily on affect” (p. 325). Fehr and Russel (1984) asked individua ls to list words that came to mind under the general category of ‘emotion’. “Sev en emotions surfaced most frequently: happiness, anger, sadness, love, fear, hate and joy” (Fehr & Russell, 1984, p. 470). Regardless of how ‘emotion’ is defined, “virtu ally all theorists of emotion agree that


33 the experience and expression of emotion has served, and probably continues to serve, an important function in the survival of the species (Berscheid, 1983, p. 120). Some research suggests, “framing envi ronmental changes in terms of future generations may be the more persuasive a lternative. Evoking images of the world today’s children will inherit has been shown to exert a strong positive impact on attitudes and behavioral intentions” (Davis 1995, 287). Included with this type of communication is generally a sense of guilt. David & Pfau (2002) state “characterized by a gnawing feeling that one has done something wrong, guilt’s associated action tendency is to atone or make reparation for the harm done…” (p. 292). In addition to the way a message is framed, it is important to focus on how messages are processed and attitudes are changed. McGuire’s Information Processing Model as described by Severin & Tankard (2001) sugge sts that attitude change involves several step s. McGuire originally accounted for six steps, but in later models, he identified the following tw elve steps of the persuasion process: (1) exposure to communication, (2) attendi ng to it, (3) liking or becoming interested in it, (4) comprehending it (learning what), (5) skill acquisition (learning how), (6) yielding to it (at titude change), (7) memory storage of content and/or agreement, (8) info rmation search and retrieval, (9) deciding on basis of retrieval, (10) behaving in accord with decision, (11) reinforcement of desired acts, and (12) post behavioral consolidating (p.174).


34 When an individual is faced with a persuasi ve message, he or she will go through the above stages of information processing befo re deciding what to do with that message. This process can be affected by an infinite number of factors. Evoking emotions in an indi vidual can determine how quickly that particular individual processes a message. Accord ing to Dillard & Pfau (2002), “emotion represents an internal alarm system to warn of problems that demand attention and immediate real-time resolutions” (p. 735). Research shows that responding to a message depicting images on a screen can have the same effect on the way an individual processes the information as if the person had w itnessed those same images in real life. These emotions can have an overwhelming effect on how meaning is perceived as well as the persuasive appeal of the message (Dillard & Pfau, 2002). According to Davis (1995), “it is ofte n difficult to stop or start specific patterns of behavior. This phenomenon, psyc hological inertia, ma y partially explain why individuals have not yet fully transl ated their environmental attitudes and concerns into environmentally responsibl e behaviors” (p. 287). Even if an environmental message has its intended eff ect, attitude change, this may or may not directly affect behavior change in an individual. It is much more difficult to inspire behavior change. Behavior Change and Credibility Behavior change depends upon a number of factors including credibility of the source. Severin & Tankard (2001) contend that credib ility is the most important tool a communicator has. Gene rally, if an individual does not have any credibility, he


35 or she may not have an audience. A ccording to Dillard and Pfau (2002), a communicating source is said to be credible if the source has both expertise on the subject matter and is considered trustwort hy. In fact, “research shows that offering the opinions of experts is particularly e ffective when the intended audience does not initially favor one’s proposal” (Dillard & Pfau, 2002, p. 522). An audience’s reliance on an expert is essentially a short-cut analys is of important issues. Generally, if an individual or an organization identifies itself as expert, or has established itself as expert, the communication becomes more im portant to the viewers. Tan (1985) states, “expertise depends on training, experience, abilit y, intelligence, professional attainment, and social status. An expert source is one who has valid and reliable knowledge about the issue” (p. 114). Along with expertise, a communicator must also convince an audience that he or she is trustworthy. “Whereas expertise refers to a communicator’s knowledge and experience, trustworthiness refers to th e communicator’s honesty and lack of bias” (Dillard & Pfau, 2002, p. 523). For the most part, audience members will trust those who have established themselves over a period of time. Tan (1985) states, “trustworthy sources are more likely than untrustworthy sources to change attitudes and behaviors because of our previous experiences with them” (p. 115). For example, Greenpeace, having been in the news media for over thirty years may have established themselves as expert s and trustworthy sour ces of environmental news in the minds of some individuals. Others may believe that Greenpeace members are experts but are too extreme to be trustworthy. While still others may feel that Greenpeace is neither expert on environmental issues nor a trustworthy


36 source of information. Further still, ev en if the institution of Greenpeace has established itself as expert in the environmental field, the specific spokesperson is for an issue will significantly affect audien ce perceptions of credibility. Experts Greenpeace might use in structuring an environmental message are physicists, botanists, biochemists, wild life ecologists, zoologists, biologists, politicians, and geologists (Dillard & Pfau, 2002). A study by Hovland and Weiss reviewed testimonials from high-credibility sources versus low credibility sources. They found “high-credibility sources did produce more opinion change” (Severin & Tankard, 2001, p. 157). In addition to expertise and trustworthin ess, Whitehead (1968) found that qualities such as professionalism, dynamism, and objectivity also contribute to an audience’s perception of credibility. Judging credibi lity as a function of the frame surrounding an environmental issue may help social scientists better unde rstand what does and does not aid in establishing credibility. Research also suggests that, although a source may exhibit credibility to an audience, if that audience is highly involved in the issue, such as members of a social group, they may perceive the content to be biased even when a source appears to be objectively credible (Dillar d & Pfau, 2002). Dillard and Pfau sum up by adding, “credible communicators posse ss both expertise and trus tworthiness; but without trustworthiness, even experts will not be very persuasive” (p. 524). Gender Along with the way an issue is framed and whether an audience perceives the source to be credible, many other factors cont ribute to how an individual processes a


37 message. One demographic that has shown si gnificant variation in how an individual processes a message is gender. Kempf, Laczniak, & Smith (2006) discuss the differences in the way men and women pro cess messages. They claim “women tend to engage in more detailed, elaborative, and comprehensive processing of information than do men, unless extrinsic motivations are present that prompt men to do so” (p. 5). Research shows that men are more li kely to process information through a process called item specific processing. This means they are less likely to decipher relationships between messages than wo men are. Women tend to go through a process called relational processing, where they focus less on individual cues, and more on the relationships between th e cues (Kempf et al., 2006). When men and women view the same messages, they are likely to have attitude and behavior cha nge that differ across the boa rd. These differences are attributed to biological fact ors such as sex chromosomes, sex hormones, and brain lateralization, and social f actors such as schools of t hought and gender identification (Putrevu, 2001). Purtrevu states “males te nd to vigorously pursue such self-focused goals having great personal conseq uences. Females are guided by communal concerns emphasizing interpersonal affiliati on and harmonious relationships” (p. 1). These differences in gender will have a significant effect on how a message is perceived. Research shows that men te nd to be more receptive to objective communication because they tend to con ceptualize items in terms of physical attributes. They may also be more anal ytical and logical in their information processing than women, and are considered more detached and see issues from the


38 outside looking in. Women, on the other hand, are better at d ecoding nonverbal cues and are “generally considered to be more visually oriented, more intrinsically motivated, and more romantic compared to men” (Putrevu, 2001, p. 4). Women are more likely to participate in a story and attempt to experience a message from the inside (Putrevu, 2001). Research also shows that these descriptions also depend highly on the message content, and whether it is highinvolvement or high risk versus lowinvolvement or low risk. Putrevu (2001) concluded that men prefer messages that feature concepts such as competition and dominance, and women prefer messages that show importance to self as well as ot hers (Putrevu, 2001). Some scientists have evaluated the way in which men and wo men process environmental messages. According to Guber (2003), “many sc holars suggest that women are more environmentally concerned than men based on their maternal socialization as family nurturers and care givers” (p. 75). Message Effectiveness In general, environmental messages are difficult messages to communicate to a broad and diverse audience because of th e endless controversy surrounding some of these issues, including complexity of the issue, source of the issue, and message frames. Dillard & Pfau (2002) state the di fficulty in communicating such messages is “in part because of disagreement among ma ny of the scientific findings themselves; differing results can occur depending on ge ographic location, type of measurement, or basic errors in methodology. Moreover, even similar results can be interpreted differently based on varying theoretical persp ectives, vested interests in the issue, or


39 the context in and purposes for which the res earch was carried out” (p 663). Issues in framing the problem, carrying out the rese arch, and making decisions about which messages to send are all based on key players. The key players for an environmental issue can range from government officials to commercial businesses, or even public community sectors of societ y (Dillard & Pfau, 2002). All of these conflicts in environmen tal communication affect whether the public understands the messages presente d. If the public does not understand a message, it is certainly not going to ac t upon it. If the public does understand a message, and attempts to act upon it, envir onmental behavior change is difficult to positively reinforce (Dillard & Pfau, 2002). When an individual responds to a persuasive message, he or she is looking for some sort of reinforcement that his or her behavior change has made a differen ce. Water quality, air quality, and even global warming messages are nearly impossi ble to quantify with regard to an individual’s beha vior change. For example, following a message asking an individual to change the type of light bulbs in the home, an individual acts upon the message. It is nearly impossible to quantify or show this individual the posit ive effects that this behavior change will have on the planet. This “can be a critical ingredient; people want to see that their efforts are indeed making a differenc e” (Dillard & Pfau, 2001, p. 663). Studies conducted in the 1990’s indicated more than seventy-five percent of Americans surveyed were concerned or ve ry concerned about the environment. These studies also reflected a willingness to act or support public policy as it concerns environmental issues (Dillard & Pfau, 2002) These numbers were similar thirty


40 years ago as environmental activists be gan making appearances on national and international news stations. As public concern and sentiment over the environment has fluctuated over the years, so has the wa y in which the environment is portrayed to the public. A central theme among communi cations scholars is media effects and message effectiveness. Designing a message be st suited to a partic ular audience is in the best interest of those who wish to change attitudes and motivate change. Factors including message frames, source credibility and complexity of an issue will all have an affect on how an audience perceives a message. Unfortunately, for the environmental movement, envir onmental communicators are often “asking citizens to take actions that may at times be expensive, effortful, and risky and that may not bear fruit in terms of environmenta l change for years or decades to come. Psychologically, this is not alwa ys an easy sell to the public at large” (Dillard & Pfau, 2002, p. 682). Oftentimes, framing messages in a way that offers credible source information, and encourages public buy-in and participation will thwart the negative effects of complexity and skepticism. Determining how message frames, source credibility, and issue releva nce affect the outcomes of environmental messages will prove to be invaluable information. Hypotheses In an attempt to better understand the e ffects of message frames on attitude or perception change, credibility of the message, and importance of the issue with regard to three types of Greenpeace messages, hum or, emotional appeal, and shock, and one control, the following three hypotheses will be explored:


41 H1: Greenpeace messages depicting an emotional appeal will have a greater impact on female individuals versus male individuals as it concerns attitude or perception change, credibility of the message, and importance of the issue. H2: Greenpeace messages depicting humor appeal will have a greater impact on male individuals versus female indi viduals as it concerns attitude or perception change, credibility of the message, and importance of the issue. H3: Greenpeace messages depicting shock or fear appeal will have a greater impact on male individuals versus female individuals as it concerns attitude or perception change, credibility of the message, and importance of the issue. The challenge facing Greenpeace today is not necessarily one of issues acceptance as much as it is trying to find the balance between the message and its intended effects. Americans have been labe led as “sympathetic, but not active within the environmental movement” (Guber, 2003, p. 54). According to Guber, there is no single group of people that is opposed to environmentally friendly behavior. The issue then becomes what the public is willing to sacrifice in order to make environmentally friendly choices. The different ways an issue is presented, or framed, will encourage different responses and various levels of behavior change. Guber (2003) concludes “the way in which environmental issues shape beha vior may be dependent ultimately on the cues or symbols that are cognitively linke d to it” (p. 173). Th e above hypotheses will attempt to aid in a clarification of which types of messages affect these cues for men and women. Determining which types of frames promote the desired behavior change in an audience will add to envi ronmental persuasion research, and will


42 ultimately assist the designers of environmental messages and the deliverers of environmental communication.


43 Chapter 3 Methodology A modified experimental design was used to examine how framing strategies influence different audience segments includ ing those of different gender and other student population demographic differences Wimmer and Domi nick (2006) state that there are four main advantages to experimental design including “evidence of causality, control, cost, and replication” (pp. 231-232). Experiments can help establish cause and effect, researchers have control over variables such as the environment and subjects during the expe riment, costs are generally low, and experiments can be easily replicated (Wimmer & Dominick, 2006). The three variables being measured fo r this experiment are perception and attitude change, message credibility, and issue importance. Treatments were prepared for three groups of undergraduate students. A fourth group served as a control group. Each treatment group viewed a video message treatment designed with the exp ectation of creating some influence among group members. The control group received a “neutral” lecture on global warming. Neutral is defined in this case as material not considered controversial in the global warming debate. All groups received a prequestionn aire regarding the environment. The groups then received the video message tr eatment, or the (control group) neutral lecture on global warming. Following the me ssage treatments or lecture, each group


44 received a post questionnaire created to examine the infl uence of the exposure to the framed message. For this experiment, the de sign is considered pretest > experimental treatment > posttest (Wimmer & Dominick, 2006). The activist environmental group Greenpeace produced the three “framed” messages viewed by the student audiences. The fourth message, which was delivered to a control group, is a neutra l environmental lect ure developed by the researcher with the assistance of non-activist faculty member s. The researcher understands that all messages contain elements of bias, but th ese were minimized through the use of the non-involved faculty member. Message Description The three Greenpeace environmental message s were delivered in the form of a visual taped message on DVD, similar to a commercial or public service announcement. These messages were produced by Greenpeace, but have not publicly aired on television in the United States. While Greenpeace produced the messages, all references to this activist organization were removed from the videos in order to avoid the potential for source message bias. Two treatments for each message frame were chosen. Two humor messages were delivered to one group of undergraduate students, two emotional appeal messages were delivered to a second group of undergraduate students, and two shock appeal messages were delivered to a th ird group of undergraduate students. The control group was exposed to the previous ly described environmental lecture. Exposure to these messages took place in the students’ classroom either at the


45 beginning or the end of class. All data co llection took place over a four-day period to minimize extraneous influences. The humor messages are couched in the fo rm of satire and sarcasm to convey two different, but related environmental co ncerns. The two humor messages, each in a commercial format, depict the affects of harmful chemicals on sperm delivery, and the use of environmentally “un-frie ndly” automobiles respectively. The emotional appeal messages were inte nded to conjure spec ific feelings and emotions in an individual, which can potential ly lead to a change in the attitude of an individual. While it is rec ognized that attitude change is extremely difficult to measure, the questionnaire is designed to ge t to at least the temporary examination of attitude change. The shock messages were intended to c onjure specific feelings of fear or shock in an individual. As described by the literature above, shock messages are intended to create behavior change through the use of graphic, violent, or shocking images, generally followe d by a call-to-action. As for message detail, the first emotiona l appeal message is depicted visually by offering contrasting scenery of the earth, first with beauty and then countered with images of the earth succumbing to the effects of “global wa rming.” It is couched in terms of creating a sense of urgency. The second emotional appeal focuses on a young teenager speaking harshly to “adults.” The angry child mocks and chastises adults for not doing enough about the envi ronmental problems he “knew” existed. This emotional appeal message is designed to conjure feelings of guilt, using mainly verbal cues. Both visual and word-driven messages were chosen to give participants


46 a forthright and “in your face” exposure to the different types of emotional appeal strategies used by environm ental communicators. The shock appeal messages are both me ssages that depict “disturbing” or “shocking” images of animals and their habita ts being harmed or killed, in order to “shock” or “frighten” individuals into “act ion.” One depicts the violent and bloody seal hunt in northern Canada, and the other depicts habitat destruction to great ape forests in Africa. The first humor message pokes fun at an individual who drives a sport utility vehicle. This message uses satire in the fo rm of social unacceptabi lity with regard to driving a vehicle that is harmful to the e nvironment. The second humor message uses humor to depict damaged sperm in the form of humans with various disabilities, thus showing the consequences that harmful chemicals have on male sperm. The environmental lecture is designed as a control variable for testing the influences of the other messages on their vari ous audiences. It is short and generally explanatory with minimal influence. The lecture and corresponding Power Point presentation depicts both “sides” of global warming; scientific data stating global climate change is human-caused and scientific data stating global climate change is a natural occurring phenomenon. It presented scant, neutral environmental content, depicting factual data only to establ ish a reason for the questionnaire. Data Collection A convenience sample of undergraduat e students in an introductory mass communications course from a large southe rn university was used. According to Wimmer and Dominick (2006), a convenience sample “is a collection of readily


47 accessible subjects for study, such as a group of students enrolled in an introductory mass media course or shoppers in a mall” ( p. 90). Four different classroom scenarios were used as treatment groups one th rough four. Group one received the humor treatments, and group two received the emo tional appeal treatments. Group three received the shock message treatment, a nd group four received a control neutral environmental lecture. Using this type of sample allows a large number of students to view the various message frames. The students rece ived a brief introduction, completed the first questionnaire, and then received two messages of the same treatment or a neutral lecture followed by a post-message questionn aire. This questionnaire measured variables based on audience perception of attitude or perception change, perceived credibility of the message, and issue importa nce. These were measured on a Likert scale with a “Strongly agree” statement meas uring as a 5 and a “Strongly disagree” statement measuring as a 1. Demographics including age, sex, year in college, and racial affiliation, were measured. According to Wimmer and Dominick ( 2006), Likert scales are “perhaps the most commonly used scale in mass media re search” (p. 57). Using five items on a Likert scale allows for “broad differentia tion in opinions, percep tions, and feelings. This is important because it gives the resear cher more information” (p. 55). Likert scales also allow for ease in coding res ponses. The high scores represent stronger agreement with the statement in questi on, and the low scores represent weaker agreement with the statement in question. Likert scales allow for the specific measurement of various issues (Wim mer and Dominick, 2006).


48 Questionnaires are useful in experiment s because “a large amount of data can be collected with relative eas e, and they allow researchers to examine many variables and to use a variety of st atistics to analyze the dat a” (Wimmer and Dominick, 2006, p. 180). A pre-questionnaire was administ ered in an attempt to gather basic environmental data from the respondents This pre-questionnaire allowed the researcher to more accurately measure ac tual environmental knowledge versus the self-reported environmental knowledg e from the post-questionnaire. The first ten questions on the post-ques tionnaire were designed to measure a respondent’s attitude or perception change following the specific messages he or she received, respondent’s se lf-reported knowledge, and whether the message was informative or added knowledge and awaren ess to the respondent’s understanding of the issue. If a respondent already came to the table with a high level of knowledge about each issue, his or her attitude or perception cha nge would be dramatically different from a respondent with very little information about the particular issue. Sometimes, attitude and perception change may lead to behavior change. Two statements in this section were design ed to judge a respondent’s self-reported environmentally friendly behavior prior to and following review of the messages. The next section of the post-questionnaire was designed to measure respondents’ perceptions of message credibility. An i ndividual who is always skeptical of messages concerning the environment will have vastly different credibility beliefs than an individual who generally accepts any environmental message delivered. Statements in this section were designed to measure skepticism. The statements about factuality, scientif ically sound data, a nd credibility were


49 designed to measure whether a respondent felt these specific messages were credible messages based on factual data. Additional statements in this section were designed to measure whether the respondent genera lly accepts messages presented in this format, or whether they were “turned off” by messages presented in this format. Respondents may already be aware of the t ypes of messages that affect them most, and these two statements allowed measurement of this. The next set of statements was designed to measure issue importance. Some of these statements were used to determ ine whether an individual generally feels environmental issues are important. Data collected from individuals who do not feel issues are important could be substantia lly different, and perhaps even more significant, than data collected from i ndividuals who already feel environmental issues are important. Additional statements in this section were designed to measure whether the respondent already felt the specific issues pres ented in the messages were important environmental issues or whet her a respondent had given much thought, prior to these messages, to environmenta l issues. There is a difference between believing issues are important and taking the time to consider an issue in one’s own life. This section was meant to see if an individual had given much thought prior to these messages, and if they felt these issues were important enough to address following message viewing. The next data collection for the pos t-questionnaire was designed to readminister the environmental statements fr om the pre-questionnaire. This way, the researcher could position the preand postquestionnaires against each other as well as with the control group. Administering the five environmental knowledge questions


50 on both the pre-questionnaire and post-questionnaire coul d allow the researcher to test for knowledge gained following the viewing of the environmental messages or neutral lecture. The final section of the post-ques tionnaire was designed to gather demographic data. This collection was used to analyze similarities and differences of framing effects between males and females, year level in school, age, or racial identification.


51 Chapter Four Results The results of this study are shown be low and are organized by first showing descriptive statistics of the sample. This is followed by an analysis of the data regarding the study hypothes es using independent t -test analyses, and additional findings using one-way ANOVA and two-wa y ANCOVA analyses. Data analysis was performed using SPSS for Windows version 15.0. General Discussion Table 1 displays the frequencies for the demographic variables. Demographics including sex, school level, race, and age were determined for the entire sample of 68 participants. Age wa s the only continuous demographic. Ages ranged from 18 to 27 years (M = 20.9, SD = 1.9). Out of the four classes studied, a majority of the students in the study populati on were females (69.1%). A majority of the students were in their j unior year of school (54.4%), and 67.6% of the students in the study group were of Caucasian decent. Four classes were studied, consisting of a total of 68 participants. There were 16 participants in the humor treatment group, 17 participants in the emotional appeal treatment, 17 participants in the shock a ppeal treatment and 18 individuals in the control treatment. Each class was given a separate message treatment. The message treatments delivered were humor, emotion, shock, a nd a control group. The study hypotheses


52 predicted that emotional appeal messages would have a greater impact on females versus males, humor messages would have a greater impact on males versus females, and that the shock messages would have a gr eater impact on males versus females. Table 2 presents the freque ncies and percentages of ma les and females in each experimental group. Table 1 Frequencies for Categorical Demographic Variables (N = 68) Frequency Percent Sex Male 21 30.9% Female 47 69.1% School level Freshman 1 1.5% Sophomore 24 35.3% Junior 37 54.4% Senior 6 8.8% Race Caucasian 46 67.6% Hispanic 9 13.2% African American 4 5.9% Biracial 4 5.9% Asian 2 2.9% Other 2 2.9% Did not answer 1 1.5%


53 Table 2 Frequencies for Experimental Groups by Sex (N = 68) Group Males Females Total Humor 4 (25.0%) 12 (75.0%) 16 Emotion 5 (29.4%) 12 (70.6%) 17 Shock 5 (29.4%) 12 (70.6%) 17 Control 7 (38.9%) 11 (61.1%) 18 Total 21 (30.9%) 47 (69.1%) 68 Pre-questionnaires and Post-questionnaires A pre-questionnaire developed to cr eate a baseline level of general environmental knowledge was given before th e treatment. The same questions were asked of the participants as part of the treatment effects questionnaire. Due to an error in data collection, pr e-questionnaire participants and post-questionnaire participants could not be matched up. Pre-questi onnaire and post-questionnaire results were scored as follows: as students got closer to the correct answer, they were given more points and received a higher scor e. Students with higher scores for the environmental portion are said to have a higher level of existing environmental knowledge. If the same participants could have been identified, then paired t -tests would have been used to compare pre-questionna ire and post-questionnaire scores for each person. Furthermore, difference scores co mputed by subtracting the pretest score from the posttest score could have been computed for each person and the difference scores could have been compared across the four treatment groups.


54 However, because the pre-questionnaire and post-questionnaire scores could not be matched by person, this could not be done. Instead, an independent t -test was used to compare the mean of the pretest scores to the mean of the posttest scores instead. The means on the pretest and the posttest were exactly the same ( M = 17.15) so there was no difference to report. A one-way ANOVA comp aring the posttest scores across the four treatment groups was significant, F (3, 64) = 2.95, p < .05. However, the trend in th e posttest scores across groups was the same as the trend across groups for the pretest scores, so this difference is most likely not due to an experimental effect. See Table 3 for the means and standard deviations for each group. Table 3 Means, Standard Deviations, and One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) for Pretest and Posttest Scores Scale Humor M (SD) Emotion M (SD) Shock M (SD) Control M (SD) Total M (SD) ANOVA F (3,64) Pretest 18.06 (2.29) 16.18 (2.65) 17.12 (2.91) 17.28 (2.11) 17.15 (2.54) 1.58 Posttest 18.06 (2.21) 16.00 (2.21) 17.82 (2.48) 16.78 (2.21) 17.15 (2.38) 2.95* p < .05. Post Questionnaire: Other Questions The post-questionnaire was divided into the following five groups in order to test the hypotheses: attitu de or perception change, message credibility, issue importance, environmental knowledge, and de mographics. The first ten questions on the post-questionnaire referred to attitude or perception change fo llowing the viewing


55 of the environmental message treatment. In order to code the a ttitude and perception measure, questions 3, 4, 5, 8, and 10 were summ ed to create a “change in attitude or perception” score. Each of these questions refers to an individual’s knowledge, attitude, or perception change following th e message treatment. Questions 1, 2, and 9 referred to previous knowle dge and attitude, so they were summed to create a “previous knowledge and attit ude” score to be used as a control variable. The next eight items on the questionn aire referred to an individual’s perception of message credibi lity. For this measure, credibility questions 4, 5, and 6 were summed to measure message credibilit y. In order to creat e a skepticism index, questions 1, 3, and 7 were summed and questi ons 2 and 8 were reversed and added to the group. The higher the skepticism score, th e less accepting the participants were in general. The skepticism scale was creat ed as a way to control for pre-existing skepticism. This scale used the credibility statements related to an individuals’ level of skepticism to analyze against other fact ors. For example, statements 1, 3, and 7 speak directly to an individual’s skeptici sm, questions 2 and 8 do as well, only in reverse, relating to issue accep tance. That is why these scores are reverse coded. The next six items on the questionnaire referred to an individual’s perception of issue importance. Questions 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 were summed to measure an individual’s perception of the impor tance of the current messages. Table 4 presents the means, standard deviations, and one-way ANOVA for the effects of the message manipulations on the above-mentioned scales.


56 Table 4 Means, Standard Deviations, and One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) for Effects of Message Mani pulation on Four Scales Scale Humor M (SD) Emotion M (SD) Shock M (SD) Control M (SD) Total M (SD) ANOVA F (3,64) Attitude 12.19 (4.58) 14.24 (4.87) 19.24 (5.27) 16.5 (4.00) 15.6 (5.28) 6.91*** Credibilit y 11.19 (2.48) 9.65 (3.08) 12.82 (1.59) 12.22 (1.90) 11.49 (2.58) 6.11** Importanc e 19.50 (3.52) 20.29 (3.77) 20.94 (3.63) 20.72 (2.72) 20.38 (3.39) 0.57 Skepticis m 12.06 (3.28) 12.53 (3.06) 10.24 (3.25) 13.06 (2.92) 11.99 (3.24) 2.66 ** p < .01. *** p < .001. The one-way ANOVA was used to comp are the group means on each variable across the four groups. The overall ANOVA was si gnificant for attitude change and message credibility. Tukey HSD post hoc tests were therefore conducted to determine specifically which groups were diffe rent from each other. Post hoc tests indicated that for attitude change, the humor group differed from the shock group (p = .000), the humor group differed from the c ontrol group (p = .046), and the emotion group differed from the shock group (p = .015). For credibility, the emotion group differed from the shock group (p = .001) and the emotion group differed from the control group (p = .009). There were not si gnificant differences in the group means across the four groups for issue importance or skepticism. However, skepticism was


57 nearly significant (p = .056). Overall, this analysis confirmed th at different message frames are associated with message effectiv eness as it relates to attitude change and message credibility. Figures 1-4 graphically illustrate the differences in group means for the four scales across th e four treatment groups. Treatment GroupControl Shock Emotion Humor Means20 18 16 14 12 Attitude Change Figure 1. Means for attitude change acr oss the four treatment groups.


58 Treatment GroupControl Shock Emotion Humor Means13 12 11 10 9 Credibility Figure 2. Means for credibility acro ss the four treatment groups. Treatment GroupControl Shock Emotion Humor Means21 20.8 20.6 20.4 20.2 20 19.8 19.6 Importance Figure 3. Means for importance across the four treatment groups.


59 Treatment GroupControl Shock Emotion Humor Means14 13 12 11 10 Skepticism Figure 4. Means for skepticism across the four treatment groups. Hypothesis 1 The first hypothesis in this study pred icted that emotional appeal messages would have a greater impact on female indi viduals versus male individuals regarding attitude or perception change, message cr edibility, and importanc e of the issues. Table 5 shows the comparison of means for males and females from each treatment group. Independent t -tests were used to directly addr ess this hypothesis. None of the dependent variables -attitude change, cr edibility, or issue importance -showed significant differences between males and fe males for the emotional appeal category, which could be due to the small sample si ze used in the study. The trend in the means was in the hypothesized direction (larger for females) for attitude change and issue importance, but not for credibility.


60 The trends for this group do show fema les having a higher change in attitude and an increased belief of issue importance as it relates to the emotionally framed messages. Although not significant, these tre nds are consistent w ith the predictions of Hypothesis 1. Data trends for this group show males with a higher belief that the issues presented using the emotional fram es have more credibility. This is inconsistent with the predictions of Hypothe sis 1. It is import ant to note, however, that none of these findings is significant, possibly due to such small sample sizes. Table 5 Independent t-tests to Address Hypotheses Variable Males M (SD) Females M (SD) t (df) Hypothesis 1: Emotional appeal Attitude change 12.80 (3.63) 14.83 (5.32) -0.78 (15) Credibility 10.20 (2.05) 9.42 (3.48) 0.47 (15) Importance 18.40 (2.97) 21.08 (3.90) -1.37 (15) Hypothesis 2: Humor appeal Attitude change 10.25 (5.12) 12.83 (4.43) -0.98 (14) Credibility 8.50 (3.11) 12.08 (1.51) -3.16 (14)** Importance 17.25 (3.78) 20.25 (3.25) -1.54 (14) Hypothesis 3: Shock appeal Attitude change 16.40 (2.07) 20.42 (5.81) -1.48 (15) Credibility 11.60 (0.55) 13.33 (1.61) -2.31 (15)* Importance 18.80 (2.49) 21.83 (3.74) -1.65 (15) p < .05. ** p < .01. Hypothesis 2 The second hypothesis in this study pred icted that humorous messages would have a greater impact on male individuals versus female individuals as related to attitude or perception change, message cr edibility, and importan ce of the issues.


61 Table 5 shows the comparison of means for males and females from each treatment group. Independent t -tests were used to directly address this hypothesis. The only significant value for the humo r analysis was credibility, but not in the predicted direction of Hypothesis 2. Th ese data show that humor messages had a greater impact on females versus males w ith regards to message credibility. Trends in the rest of the means for the humor fr ame show humor having a greater impact on females as related to attitude change and issue importance. These analyses are not significant, however, possibly due to small sample sizes. They are also not consistent with the predictions of Hypothesis 2. Hypothesis 3 The third hypothesis in this study predic ted that shock messages would have a greater impact on male individuals versus female individuals c oncerning attitude or perception change, message credibility, and importance of the issues. Table 5 shows the comparison of means for males a nd females from each treatment group. Independent t -tests were used to directly address this hypothesis. Again, the only significant tvalue for the shock means shows that shock messages had a greater impact on females versus males as related to message credibility. This is oppos ite of the direction predicted in Hypothesis 3. Trends for the shock frame mean data show that shock messages have a greater impact on females regarding attit ude change and issue importance. These analyses are not significant, however, possibly due to small sample sizes. They are also not consistent with the predictions of Hypothesis 3.


62 Additional Findings Next, two-way ANCOVA analyses were run to test for the effects of experimental treatment groups and sex for each dependent variable. The design set up is a 3 (treatment group) 2 (sex) factor ial design. Table 6 presents descriptive statistics broken down by group and sex fo r each dependent variable and for the covariate that was used in the analyses, the skepticism scale. Table 6 Descriptive Statistics for Dependent Variables and Covariate broken down by Experimental Group and Sex Variable Males M (SD) Females M (SD) Total sample M (SD) Attitude change Humor 10.25 (5.12) 12.83 (4.43) 12.19 (4.58) Emotion 12.80 (3.63) 14.83 (5.32) 14.24 (4.87) Shock 16.40 (2.07) 20.42 (5.81) 19.24 (5.27) Control 18.71 (4.23) 15.09 (3.30) 16.50 (4.00) Total 15.14 (4.88) 15.81 (5.49) 15.60 (5.28) Credibility Humor 8.50 (3.11) 12.08 (1.51) 11.19 (2.48) Emotion 10.20 (2.05) 9.42 (3.48) 9.65 (3.08) Shock 11.60 (0.55) 13.33 (1.61) 12.82 (1.59) Control 11.86 (1.77) 12.45 (2.02) 12.22 (1.90) Total 10.76 (2.23) 11.81 (2.66) 11.49 (2.58) Importance Humor 17.25 (3.78) 20.25 (3.25) 19.50 (3.52) Emotion 18.40 (2.97) 21.08 (3.90) 20.29 (3.77) Shock 18.80 (2.49) 21.83 (3.74) 20.94 (3.63) Control 22.71 (1.80) 19.45 (2.47) 20.72 (2.72) Total 19.71 (3.33) 20.68 (3.41) 20.38 (3.40) Skepticism Humor 14.25 (2.99) 11.33 (3.14) 12.06 (3.28) Emotion 13.60 (0.89) 12.08 (3.55) 12.53 (3.06) Shock 12.20 (3.63) 9.42 (2.84) 10.24 (3.25) Control 13.86 (3.44) 12.55 (2.58) 13.06 (2.92) Total 13.48 (2.87) 11.32 (3.20) 11.99 (3.24)


63 Two-way ANCOVAs were used to examine the effects of group and sex for each dependent variable. Covarying mode ls were run with the covariate of skepticism. Table 7 presents the results fo r the models that incl uded the covariate of skepticism in addition to treatment group, se x and the interaction of group sex. For the first model with attitude change as the dependent variable, there was only a significant effect of treatment group; se x and skepticism were not able to add significantly to the explained variance in at titude change. Without skepticism, the R2 value for attitude change was .324 and in creased only to .352 with skepticism. In the second model with credibility as the dependent variable, the main effect of group was nearly significant, but did not reach the appropriate .05 level to claim significance (p = .057). Additionally, th e model without skepticism had an R2 value of .341, and it increased to .628 with the additi on of skepticism. This indicates that previous levels of skepticism play a large ro le in determining the level of credibility that subjects will assign to environmental information. For credibility, there is a significant interaction effect for group sex (p = .041). Credibility scores differ by gender in different ways depending on treatm ent. This can be seen in Figure 6, estimated marginal means for credibility. For the third model with importance as the dependent variable, there were no significant main effects of treatment group or sex. There was a significant effect of skepticism as a covariate. Figure 5 gra phically illustrates the estimated marginal means (estimated from the model) for attitude change for both males and females across the treatment groups. Figure 6 shows the marginal means for credibility and


64 Figure 7 for importance. In designs with multiple factors, marginal means for one factor are the means for that factor averaged across all levels of the other factors. The ANCOVA results indicate that there are no significant main effects of gender for any of the dependent variables (attitude change, credibility, or importance). The results also show that fe males have higher credib ility scores in the humor and shock group (although not signifi cant for the shock group), and females have lower credibility scores in the emo tion group. The differences between genders differ depending on treatment group. Table 7 Two-Way Analyses of Variance (ANCOVAs) for Experimental Group and Sex with Skepticism as Covariate for Three De pendent Variables without Control Group Source Df MS F R2 Attitude change .352 Skepticism 1 25.95 1.09 Group 2 128.22 5.40** Sex 1 45.65 1.92 Group sex 2 2.87 0.12 Error 43 23.74 Credibility .628 Skepticism 1 95.52 29.77*** Group 2 9.86 3.07 Sex 1 1.16 0.36 Group sex 2 11.05 3.44 Error 43 3.21 Importance .348 Skepticism 1 121.29 12.47** Group 2 3.38 0.35 Sex 1 22.82 2.35 Group sex 2 0.17 0.12 Error 43 9.73 p < .05. ** p < .01. *** p < .001.


65 Treatment GroupShock Emotion Humor Estimated Marginal Means20 18 16 14 12 10 Female MaleGenderEstimated Marginal Means of Attitude Change Figure 5 Estimated marginal means of attitude change by treatment group and sex with skepticism as a covariate. Treatment GroupShock Emotion Humor Estimated Marginal Means12.5 12 11.5 11 10.5 10 9.5 Female MaleGenderEstimated Marginal Means of Credibility Figure 6 Estimated marginal means of credib ility by treatment group and sex with skepticism as a covariate.


66 Treatment GroupShock Emotion Humor Estimated Marginal Means21.5 21 20.5 20 19.5 19 18.5 Female MaleGenderEstimated Marginal Means of Importance Figure 7 Estimated marginal means of impor tance by treatment group and sex with skepticism as a covariate. Tukey post hoc analyses were run for th e factorial designs to determine which groups of variables were diffe rent from the others. For attitude change, the overall ANCOVA comparing across the groups was si gnificant (p = .002) Under attitude change, humor males were significantly different from shock females (p = .01), humor females were significantly different from shock females (p = .005), and shock females were significantly different from humor males (p = .01) and humor females (p = .005). For credibility, the overall ANCOVA comparing across the groups was significant (p = .001). Humor males were si gnificantly different from shock females (p = .009), emotion females were significan tly different from shock females (p = .002), and shock females were significantl y different from humor males (p = .009)


67 and emotion females (p = .002). For issue importance, the overall ANCOVA comparing across the groups wa s not significant (p = .163). Results Summary This study used framing and McGuire’ s Information Processing Theory to explore individuals’ reacti ons to three treatments of environmental messages, emotional appeal, humor appeal, and shock ap peal. The study also sought to explore differences in male and female reactions to each frame treatment. To study message effectiveness, three hypotheses were test ed measuring individuals’ attitude or perception change, credibility of th e message, and issue importance. H1 predicted that the environmental em otion treatment would have a greater impact on females over males for attitude or perception change, credibility of the message, and issue importance. This hypothe sis was not supporte d by the results of the data, in part likely due to small sample size. The trend in the means for the emotiona l treatment did support the hypothesis, showing that females had higher mean scores for attitude or perception change and issue importance, however none of the result s were significant findings. The female means for attitude change were 14.83, while the male means were 12.80. The female mean for issue importance was 21.08, while the male mean was 18.40. The trend for credibility showed opposite re sults with the female mean at 9.42 and the male mean at 10.20. However, these were not significant findings. Literature reviewed for this hypothesis showed that “women tend to engage in more detailed, elaborative, and comprehe nsive processing of information than do men…” (Kempf, Laczniak, & Smith, 2006, p. 5). Women also go through a process


68 called relational processing where they focu s less on individual cues, and more on relationships between the cues (Kempf et al., 2006). Women are also considered to be more visually oriented than men (Putrevu, 2001, p. 4). The two emotional appeal messages were visually stimulating. The first message depicted dramatic scenes of the earth succumbing to the effects of global warming, natural and human caused disasters. This message also had various themes as different scenes flashed across the scree n. It may be likely that the women were able to process a connection between all of the informati on and men were not as able to make that connection across the messa ges. Kempf, Laczniak, & Smith (2006) state, “men are less likely to decipher relationships between messages than women are” (p. 5). H2 predicted that the humor appeal me ssages would have a greater impact on male individuals versus female individuals as it concerns attitude or perception change, credibility of the me ssage, and importance of the i ssue. This hypothesis was not supported by the data. In fact, the opposite was found for credibility. Women were shown to have a higher belief of message cred ibility using humor as an environmental message frame than men. These results were significant, with a female mean of 12.08 and the male mean at 8.50. Trends in the data also showed that humor was more effective for women for attitude or perception change with a female mean of 12.83 and issue importance with a female mean 20.25 than men, with means of 10.25 and 17.25 respectively. These findings were not significant, but may have been if the population sample had been larger.


69 H3 predicted that shock messages woul d have a greater effect on men than women as they relate to attitude cha nge, credibility, and issue importance. Significant findings show the opposite for cr edibility, with a m ean of 13.33 for the females and only 11.60 for the males. This resu lt was significant. Trends for attitude change and issue importance also show shock messages having a greater impact on females with means for attitude change at 20.42 for females and 16.40 for males, and an issue importance mean of 21.83 for females and 18.80 for males. When sex differences were removed, the one-way ANOVA analysis showed important trends across message treatmen ts. These results showed significant differences for attitude change and message credibility. Post hoc analysis showed that the humor treatment differed from the shock and the control groups, and that the emotional appeal treatments differed from the shock group. This analysis also showed that the emotional appeal differed from shock appeal and the control group for message credibility. These findings are important because they show that message frames do have an effect on att itude change and message credibility. The 3 2 factorial design two-way ANC OVA was not part of the original analysis plan. However, running this anal ysis seemed appropria te after the data collection was complete and the initial result s showed potential for interaction. This study includes a number of variables. It is important to attempt to determine which variables are influencing one another. The covariate for this analysis was the skepticism scale, as previously described. The intention for this analysis was to gauge message effectiveness compared to an individuals general skepticism of environmental messages and communication. Attitude change showed significant


70 effects by treatment group (humor, shock, emo tion). Sex and skepticism did not add to the explained variance for attitude change. R2 value for attitude change was at .324 and jumped to .352 with skepti cism, not a large leap. However, for credibility, significant findings were found for treatment group by sex. These findings indicate that credibili ty scores differ by gender in different ways depending on treatment group. For this group, R2 values jumped from .341 to .628 with skepticism added. This indicates that an individualÂ’s preexisting skepticism level plays a major factor in wh ether or not they consider environmental messages credible for all treatment groups. Finally, for issue importan ce, significant findings i ndicated that males and females exhibited different responses to the treatment manipulations. There were also significant findings for skepticism. R2 jumped from .195 to .348 with the addition of skepticism, showing that an individualÂ’s ex isting skepticism level plays a major factor across all treatment groups on whether male s and females find the issues presented important. Post hoc analyses of the factorial design showed humor and shock differing significantly from each other concerning attitude change and credibility across genders. The female emotion group showed significant differences from the female shock group, and issue importance did not s how statistical differences across groups in the post hoc comparisons.


71 Chapter Five Conclusions It is clear that environmental message frames do have an impact on overall message effectiveness. It is also clear that in this study, messages were significantly more effective on female participants than on male participants. These findings could be attributed to a variety of reasons. First, there were substantially more female participants (69.1%) than male participants Second, studies have shown that females are generally considered mo re environmentally consci entious than males. In addition to message frames, a larg e number of possibilities could have an impact on overall message effectiveness for environmental messages. Because environmental messages are so complex, it is often difficult to communicate an exact “call to action”. According to Corbett (2006) “a reader won’t fi nd one sentence that states ‘the frame is…’ but nevertheless will be able to make that conclusion from reading the entire story. I ndividual story factors that influence frames include syntactic structures (word phrase patterns ), script structures (such as what’s highlighted as most newsworthy), thematic st ructures (that point to a causal theme), and rhetorical devices (stylisti c choices)” (p. 239). As with all types of messages, any number of factors, or combination of these factors will play a role in determining how an individual reacts to a message. The data show, in general, environmental messages for all three treatments were more effective for females than for males. This could be due to the small


72 sample size, or it could be a general trend for environmental messages. According to Guber (2003), “many scholars suggest th at women are more environmentally concerned than men based on their maternal so cialization as family nurturers and care givers” (p. 75). All environmental messa ges, no matter the frame, could be more effective on females than males. While none of the three hypotheses of this study was supported, important findings were discovered about environmen tal message frames, and their effects on men and women regarding attitude change, credibility, and issue importance. This study was very complicated. Not only did it attempt to analyze environmental message frames on men versus women, but also attempted to measure message effectiveness on three levels, attitude ch ange, credibility, and issue importance over three treatment groups, humor, shock and emotional appeal. Due to the complex nature of the analysis, ANCOVAs were run to determine which variables were affecting each other a nd the significance of those interactions. While this was not part of the original an alysis plan, running these data along with the post hoc analysis showed in greater detail the influences the vari ables were having on one another. Future Research Guber (2003) states that Americans are “sympathetic, but not active within the environmental movement” (p. 54). It could be said that environmental messages with a specific “call-to-action” may be most e ffective at getting Americans involved. One shock message and one emotional appeal me ssage had a specific call-to-action. For


73 future studies, measuring intended behavi or change following a message treatment would be very helpful for the designers of environmental messages. Measuring specific treatment type, not sex, would be important for future research. It is prac tical in a classroom setting, but in a real-world se tting, it is not often the case that men and women are separa ted when viewing any type of television message. A study designed to measure overall effect on males and females should be an area of study for this type of research. Additional research should focus specifi cally on one variable, either message credibility, issue importance, or attitude change. Having multiple dependent and independent variables was also a limitation of this study. Multiple variables were being analyzed at the same time. It is diffi cult to measure all of these variables with a small study population. Future research s hould also focus more in depth on an individualÂ’s existing skepticism. Which type of message effect overcomes an individualÂ’s existing skepticism is an impor tant component to explore. Future research should also focus on other demographics including age, race, and education level as it re lates to environmental message effectiveness. These are important demographics to consider when designing an environmental message to create attitude or behavior change. Additionally, furthe r research across treatment group and gender would provide scholars and the designers of environmental messages with information regarding how these va riables are linked and related. Limitations of the Study This study was undertaken using underg raduate students in four different classrooms at the University of South Florid a. Because of this, the results of this


74 study cannot be generalized to a larger population. The population studied also does not represent a random sample of the entire student popula tion and cannot be generalized beyond the students tested. Because there was only a total of 68 pa rticipants in the entire study, data analysis did not represent signi ficant findings for all of the models run. It is difficult to have significant findings with such a small population study. Additionally, preexisting bias toward environmental issues could have caused certain responses to the preand post-questionnaires. Student populations are an important demographic to study, especially for environmental or activist organizations. Students are often seeking what is most important to them in their lives, and are susceptible to information in the form of television messages. They are also inclined to become activists and get involved in causes they feel are importan t. Despite the limitations, this study contributes to an understanding of message effectiveness for environmental communication. With future research in this area, deliverers of environmental communication will have a better understanding of how to produce their me ssages for specific target audiences.


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81 Appendix A Pre-Questionnaire


82 Pre-Questionnaire Please rate your response to the question below using the scale 1-5, where 1 represents strong disagreement, and 5 represents strong agreement. 1. Thinking about the country as a whole, most of the electricity in the U.S. is generated by burning fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. 1 2 3 4 5 2. Carbon monoxide is a major contribu tor to air pollution in the U.S. People breathing is the biggest source of carbon monoxide. 1 2 3 4 5 3. The main benefit of wetlands is to help control global climate change. 1 2 3 4 5 4. The main cause of global climate change is carbon emissions from autos, homes, and industry. 1 2 3 4 5 5. The name of the primary federal agency that works to protect the environment is called the National Environmental Agency (NEA). 1 2 3 4 5


83 Appendix B Post Questionnaire


84 Post-Questionnaire Please rate your response to the question below using the scale 1-5, where 1 represents strong disagreement, and 5 represents strong agreement. I have a high level of environmental knowle dge about the issue pr esented in the first message. 1 2 3 4 5 I have a high level of environmental know ledge about the issu e presented in the second message. 1 2 3 4 5 The messages increased my knowledge about the environmental issue. 1 2 3 4 5 The messages increased my awarene ss about the envir onmental issue. 1 2 3 4 5 The messages changed how I feel about the environmental issues presented. 1 2 3 4 5 The messages changed my attitude from one of pro-environment to one of negativity towards the environment. 1 2 3 4 5 The messages changed my attitude from one of negativity towards the environment to one of pro-environment. 1 2 3 4 5 The messages changed my perception of th e environmental issues presented. 1 2 3 4 5 I normally behave in a way that is environmentally friendly.


85 1 2 3 4 5 Following these messages, I intend to increase my environmentally friendly behaviors. 1 2 3 4 5 Generally speaking, I am skeptical of most environmental messages. 1 2 3 4 5 Generally speaking, I am accepting of most environmental messages. 1 2 3 4 5 I tend to only believe environmental me ssages from particular sources. 1 2 3 4 5 I believe the information presented in these messages is factual. 1 2 3 4 5 I believe the information presented in these messages came from sound scientific data. 1 2 3 4 5 I believe the source that published these messages is credible. 1 2 3 4 5 I am generally skeptical of messages presented in this format. 1 2 3 4 5 I am generally accepting of messages presented in this format. 1 2 3 4 5 I believe that issues regarding the environment are important issues. 1 2 3 4 5


86 I believe the issue depicted in the first messa ge is an important environmental issue. 1 2 3 4 5 I believe the issue depicted in the sec ond message is an impo rtant environmental issue. 1 2 3 4 5 Prior to viewing these messages, I had not given much thought to environmental issues. 1 2 3 4 5 After viewing these messages, I believe these issu es are important enough to address. 1 2 3 4 5 After viewing these messages, I will seek out additional information on these issues. 1 2 3 4 5 1. Thinking about the country as a whole, most of th e electricity in the U.S. generated by burning fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. 1 2 3 4 5 2. Carbon monoxide is a major contribu tor to air pollution in the U.S. People breathing is the biggest source of carbon monoxide. 1 2 3 4 5 3. The main benefit of wetlands is to help control global climate change. 1 2 3 4 5 4. The main cause of global climate change is carbon emissions from autos, homes, and industry. 1 2 3 4 5


87 5. The name of the primary federal agency that works to protect the environment is called the National Environmental Agency (NEA). 1 2 3 4 5 Demographics What is your age? _________ What is your gender (circle the a ppropriate answer)? Male Female What is your level in school (c ircle the appropriate answer)? Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior What racial or ethnic gro up best describes you (circle the appropriate answer)? African American American Indian Asian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander White or Caucasian Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin Biracial or multiracial Other, please specify _______________________


88 Appendix C Neutral Lecture


89 Slide 1 Global climate change is defined as the in crease in the average temperature of the Earth’s near surface air and o ceans in recent decades. There are two main theories for global climat e change by which scientists subscribe. Slide 2 The first theory argues that global climate ch ange is a clear and present threat, caused mostly by humans and pollutant emissions. Slide 3 The second theory states that global climat e change is a natural process that has occurred on Planet Earth for hundreds of millions of years, and that we are currently in a warming trend of the Earth’s na tural temperature fluctuations. Slide 4 Let’s talk about global climate change as a human-caused issue. According to the Climate Change Report for 2007 presented to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the global average air temperature ne ar the Earth’s surface rose .74 plus or minus .18 degrees Celsius during the 100-ye ar period ending in 2005. This data shows that this climate change is higher than an earlier estimate of .6 plus or minus .2 degrees Celsius for the period ending in 2000. Slide 5 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Ch ange concludes “most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in greenhouse gas concentrations via the green house gas effect.” Slide 6 The green house gas effect is defined as the process in which the emission of infrared radiation by the atmosphere warms a planet's surface. Slide 7 Increases in global temperature will cause sea levels to rise and is expected to increase the intensity of ex treme weather events and to change the amount and pattern


90 of precipitation. Other effects of global warming include changes in agricultural yields, trade routes, glacier retreat, species extinctions and increases in the ranges of disease vectors. Slide 8 Uncertainties include the amount of warming expected in the future, and how warming and related changes will vary fr om region to region around the globe. Slide 9 Some scientists, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, condclude that “most of the observed incr ease in globally aver aged temperatures since the mid 20th century is very likely due to th e observed increase in human caused greenhouse gas concentrations.” Slide 10 Now, let’s talk about the other side of the debate. Other sc ientists believe that natural phenomena such as solar variation combined with volcanoes have warming effects on the earth. They indicate that the Earth’ s climate changes in response to external forces including variations in its solar orbit around the sun, and volcanic eruptions across the globe, and that the Earth naturally experiences warming and cooling trends. Slide 11 Earth has experienced warming and cooling many times in the past. A rapid buildup of greenhouse gases caused warming in the early Jurassic period (about 80 million years ago), with average temperatures rising by 5 degrees Celcius. Research indicates that the warming caused the rate of rock weathering to increase by 400%. Such weathering locks away carbon in calcite and dolomite, and CO2 levels dropped back to normal over roughly the next 150,000 years. Slide 12 Some studies indicate that the Sun’s contribution may have been underestimated. Researchers at Duke University have estim ated that the Sun may have contributed about 45% to 50% of the increase in the average global surface temperature over the period between 1900 and 2000. Other scientific studies indicate that climate models overestimate the relative effect of gr eenhouse gases compared to solar forces. Additional hypotheses include the variations in solar ou tput, possibly amplified by cloud seeding via galactic cosmic rays, ma y have contributed to recent warming. This hypothesis suggests that magnetic activity of the sun is a crucial factor which deflects cosmic rays that may influence the generation of cloud condensation nuclei and thereby affect the climate.


91 Slide 13 To conclude, it may be likely that the warm ing of the EarthÂ’s temperatures is caused by a variety of factors, in cluding human-caused and natura lly occuring phenomenon.


92 Appendix D Neutral Lecture Power Point

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93 Slide1 Slide 2 Global Climate Change: The increase in the average temperature of the EarthÂ’s near surface air and oceans in recent decades. Global Climate Change: Clear and present threat, caused mostly by humans and pollutant emissions.

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94 Slide 3 Slide 4 Slide 5 Global Climate Change: Natural process that has occurred on Earth for hundreds of millions of years Global Climate Change: A Human Made Problem EarthÂ’s surface rose nearly an entire degree Celsius over the last 100 years

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95 Slide 5 Slide 6 Global Climate Change – A Human Made Problem: “Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20 th century is very likely due to the observed increase in greenhouse gas concentrations via the green house gas effect.” -Intergovernment al Panel on Climate Change Green house gas effect: The process in which the emission of infrared radiation by the atmosphere warms a planet’s surface.

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96 Slide 7 Slide 8 Effects of Global Climate Change: Rise in sea leve ls, increase in intensity of extreme weather events, change in amount and pattern of precipitation, changes in agricultural yields, trade routes, glacier retreat, species extinctions, and increase in the range of disease vectors Uncertainties with Global Climate Change: Amount of warming in the future, how warming and related changes will vary from region to region

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97 Slide 9 Slide 10 Global Climate Change – A Human Made Problem: “Most of the obse rved increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid 20 th century is very likely due to the the observed increase in anthropogenic [h uman-caused] greenhouse gas concentrations.” -Intergovernment al Panel on Climate Change Global Climate Change: A Natural Process Solar variation combined with volcanoes have warming effects on the earth.

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98 Slide 11 Slide 12 Global Climate Change – A Natural Process: Earth has experienced warming and cooling many times in the past. Global Climate Change – A Natural Process: Some studies indicate that the Sun’s contribution may have been underestimated.

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99 Slide 13 Global Climate Change – A Combination of Both? It may be likely that the warming of the Earth’s temperatures is caused by a variety of factors, including human-caused and naturally occurring phenomenon.

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100 Appendix E Emotional Appeal Transcript/Description

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101 Emotional Appeal 1: Pole to Pole; produced by Greenpeace 3 minutes, 15 seconds of dramatic music accompanied by visual images of natural and human-caused disasters including icebergs crumbling, glaciers melting, hurricanes and hurricane damage, tornados animals starving, pe ople starving, polar bears drowning, and floods. Emotional Appeal 2: The Angr y Kid; produced by Greenpeace 1 minute, 45 seconds depicting a child angr ily and passionately st ating the following: “The scientific community released a report that proves beyond a doubt that the Earth is getting warmer. This global warming is caused by things you grown-ups do. And by the things you don’t. If drastic measures aren’t taken soon, by the time I grow up, there won’t be any fish left in th e sea. Rainforests and clean air will be a thing of the past. The polar ice caps will be gone. Oceans will rise. Entire countries will disappear. Life will change in ways you can’t even imagine. There could be famine, worldwide epidemics, life expectancy will be lower. And we’re not just talking about ‘the future.’ We’re talking about my future.” “But this is no surprise. You adults have known about this for years. And though you could have done something about it, you haven’t. You can say, “it’s not my problem.” You can say, “I won’t be around in 50 years.” But from now on, you can’t say, “I didn’t know.” Starting today, the lines are drawn. You have to choose sides. Either you’re for my future, or you’re against it. You’re a friend, or you’re an enemy. I may just be a kid today, but tomorrow will be different. This is the last time I’ll be talking to you adults. You’ve had your chance to fix this problem. Now we have ours. We won’t be cute. We won’t be patronized. And we will not be denied our future.”

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102 Appendix F Humor Appeal Transcript/Description

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103 Humor Appeal 1: City Gas Gu zzler; Produced by Greenpeace 1 minute, 34 second video depicting a man entering his up-scale office building, and interacting with his co-workers: Man to recepti onist: “Morning.” Receptionist to man: “Morning” {She gi ves man a dirty look as he walks past} Now in the office, man pats co-w orker on the back: “Morning, Chris.” Chris: “Oh, morning.” Man to Chris: “How you doing this morning?” Man answers: “Good” {Chris nods to other employee and gives a dirty look, referring to the man, other employee places his middle finger on his face to push up his glasses, reiterating their mutual disgust for this man} {Man’s assistant, making his coffee spits in his cup before handing it to him} {Man sitting alone at the lunch table in a crowded room, one person walks up, and squeezes into a very crowded table to avoid having to sit with the man} {Man walks into the office restroom, othe r men give him dirty looks, and one man calls him a ‘wanker’} {End of the day, man grabs his keys to l eave, as he walks away, I AM A PRICK sticky notes have been pasted on his back without his knowledge} {Man goes to unlock hi s car, it’s an SUV} End verbiage says: City Gas Guzzler What does your car say about you?

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104 Humor Appeal 2; Toxic Sper m; Produced by Greenpeace 1 minute, 6 second film depicting men all in white sitting in a white tunnel. All of the men have some sort of an a ilment. Some are visibly injured, some are little people, and others are in wheel chairs and carrying oxyge n tanks. An alarm goes off. All of the men begin to get up a nd try to make their wa y to the opening of the tunnel. They have hard time because they are all visibly disabled. They are clearly fighting to get to the front of th e tunnel. A message pops up on the screen: Warning: Toxic Chemicals Can Damage Y our Sperm. The tunnel opens, they all begin to run out, and fall and trip over each ot her. In the end, only one man, the little person makes his way out of the tunnel limping.

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105 Appendix G Shock Appeal Transcript

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106 Shock Appeal 1: The Ancient Forests; Produced by Greenpeace 2 minutes, 39 second video begins with a fa mily sitting in their living room watching a shark documentary on TV. You hear: “The white shark has a body language of its own, which we are only beginning to recognize.” {Children are watching the fin of th e shark circling in the ocean.} You hear “This inquisitive shar k uses it’s…” {voice fades out} From the TV: “It’s suppertime!” {The family’s home begins to be attacked by chainsaws, they ar e screaming in terror as machines rip through their living room They attempt to hid under a table.} Father screams: “Go away!” {Pictures are being cut through, glass breaks apart, and the home is being destroyed with them in it.} {As the family screams, scene faces out} Voice comes on: “Scary, isn’t it? Havi ng your home destroyed right around you.” {Scene is now in an pristine African rainforest} Voice: “But your home can be rebuilt. Ours has taken thousands of years to grow.” {Images of great apes and their rainforest habitat.} Voice: “Without our forest home, we apes will become extinct, in your lifetime. {Images of trees falling down, chainsaw s cutting down the rainforest, apes screaming} Voice: “And its not just us, thousands of other species will also disappear. An area of ancient forest the size of a football fiel d is destroyed every two seconds, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s bigger than France and Spain in the last 10 years.” {Images of trees being hauled to make lumber, lumber yard, warehouse, ape in warehouse looking at the produc ts made from it’s home.}

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107 Voice: “Rainforest timber like this is used on building sites, sometimes only once, and then thrown away. These doors were trees in Africa, our forest home. Much of it chopped down illegally by internat ional logging companies. Thousand year old trees are destroyed, just for stuff like this.” {Image of Gorilla looking ove r stacks of toilet paper} Voice: “Why destroy ancient forests for w ood and paper, when it could all come from responsibly logged timber?” Voice of David Attenborough: “He can’t stop his ancient forests from being destroyed, but we can. To keep the world’s ancient forests safe from the animals and people that live in them, make sure th e wood and paper products you buy have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.” Shock Appeal Message 2: Baby Seals; produced by Greenpeace and Sea Shepard Conservation Society This 2 minute, 48 second video depicts th e slaughter of Canada’s seal pups. First screen: Warning: This vi deo contains graphic material that may be disturbing for some viewers. You have been warned. {Images of baby seals in Canada} Voice of Charlie Sheen: “This year 350,000 or more harp seal pups will cruelly be slaughtered on the ice flows off Eastern Canada. Next year, another 350,000 will die.” {Images of baby seals being sl aughtered, bloody and violent} Charlie Sheen: “They will be shot, drowned in nets, clubbed, and sometimes even skinned alive. This annual ritual of bl ood and slaughter must be stopped. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is dedicated to protecting the seal s. The cruel seal hunt is now larger than it has ever been befo re. In fact, it is th e largest mass slaughter of a wild animal species on the planet. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society needs your support to defend and protect these defe nseless and innocent seal pups from the savage clubs of the sealers.


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