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Climate Change and Collective Action

Access the latest research on how to best engage people in social movements for a more sustainable and just future

Rage Donation graph
Environmental Images model
Ripple Effects graph with feedback loops

Rage donations and mobilization: Understanding the effects of advocacy on collective giving responses

Advocacy is intended to change people's attitudes and behavior. But is advocacy effective? Across 3 experiments (combined N = 934) in the contexts of debates around racial discrimination and abortion, we investigated if and how exposure to advocacy can influence collective giving responses. Results show that advocacy can simultaneously mobilize and demobilize support. In this paper we also investigate the idea of “rage donations” whereby people donate out of anger. Only modest support was found for the notion of rage giving.

Chapman, C. M., Lizzio-Wilson, M., Mirnajafi, Z., Masser, B. M., & Louis, W. R. (2022). Rage donations and mobilization: Understanding the effects of advocacy on collective giving responses. British Journal of Social Psychology, 61(3), 882-906. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12522 

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Testing the impact of images in environmental campaigns

Images are commonly used in environmental advocacy campaigns that are designed to promote collective action. We tested the impact of commonly used campaign images (meeting, protest, or no image) on willingness to engage in collective action against coal mining. Results support the Social Identity Model of Collective Action in environmental contexts: efficacy, identification and anger were strongly associated with collective action intentions and (less so) behaviour. The presence of an image sometimes increased perceptions of descriptive norms for action, which in turn increased perceived efficacy and collective action intentions. However, the type of image didn’t matter.

Gulliver, R., Chapman, C. M., Solly, K., & Schultz, T. (2020). Testing the impact of images in environmental campaigns. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 71, 101468. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2020.101468 

Ripple effects: Can information about the collective impact of individual actions boost perceived efficacy about climate change? 

There is broad theoretical consensus that one way to promote climate-friendly behavior is to increase people’s belief that their actions can make a difference (individual response efficacy). However, attempts to increase individual efficacy beliefs about climate change through explicit instruction have generally failed. Although Study 1 (N = 491) revealed promising effects of the intervention in terms of individual efficacy and pro-environmental intentions, the intervention did not influence actual behavior (i.e., donations to an environmental campaign). We discuss theoretical implications for understanding how people internalize individual control over broad collective threats such as climate change.

Hornsey, M. J., Chapman, C. M., & Oelrichs, D. M. (2021). Ripple effects: Can information about the collective impact of individual actions boost perceived efficacy about climate change? Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 97, 104217. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2021.104217 

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