You might think that climate change deniers are spreading false information to prove their false theory. But recently, specialists from the University of Bonn and the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) conducted an online survey of 4,000 American adults, which refuted this idea. The results of the research that also surprised scientists were: A The nature of climate change It was published in the magazine
It's not their responsibility
A surprising number of people still do not take the drastic impacts of climate change seriously, and a group of climate change deniers believe that although the climate crisis is real, it is not the result of human activity. but why? One hypothesis is that these misconceptions are rooted in a specific form of self-deception, that is, many people do not want to live with an oppressive sense of responsibility because their activities harm our environment, so they underestimate climate problems, say the researchers. phys.org.
“This line of reasoning is what psychology calls motivated reasoning,” said Florian Zimmermann, one of the study's authors.
$20 for our planet
During the online experiment, the researchers determined the decision situation. Participants were randomly divided into one of two groups, and both groups theoretically received $20 (about 7,000 Hungarian forints), which they could throw away. Members of the first group were able to split the $20 between two organizations, both dedicated to combating climate change. In contrast, members of the second group could choose to keep the $20 for themselves rather than give it up, and they would actually get the money back at the end of the research.
“Those who decided to keep the money had to justify their decision. One possible answer is to deny the climate crisis,” Zimmerman said.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, nearly half of the second group kept the $20 for themselves. The researchers then wondered whether these people would retrospectively declare that they are climate change deniers, that is, that they do not believe the problem is real. Without “motivated reasoning,” they should believe that the climate crisis is human-caused. If those who kept the money had to justify their decision with self-deception, it would mean that they doubted climate change even more. But that's not what Zimmerman's team tested.
“In other words, our study provides no indication that widespread misconceptions about climate change are due to this type of self-deception,” Zimmerman concluded.
It's not that simple
This is good news for decision-makers, because the results may mean that it is indeed possible to dispel misconceptions about climate change through broad-based information.
But the situation is complicated by the fact that some climate change deniers, according to researchers, think this way because it is part of their political identity. In other words, some people define their self-image by not believing in climate change.
For them, this way of thinking is an important “personality trait” that distinguishes them from other political groups, so they are not at all interested in what researchers have to say on this topic.
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