See no evil? Only implicit attitudes predict unconscious eye movements towards images of climate change

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Abstract

This paper examines how measures of both explicit and implicit attitudes to the environment relate to unconscious patterns of eye movements towards or away from iconic images of environmental damage and climate change. It found that those with a strong positive implicit attitude towards low carbon products spent significantly more time attending to negative images of climate change than positive images of nature in a ten second interval, and this occurred even in the first 200 milliseconds of looking. Those with a strong positive implicit attitude towards low carbon products also spent significantly more time attending to negative images of climate change in the first 200 milliseconds compared to those with a weaker implicit attitude. Measures of explicit attitude did not predict eye gaze towards the negative images in this way. In other words, there is a statistical association between implicit attitude (rather than explicit attitude) and how people focus their attention on iconic images of environmental damage and climate change. The study discusses the implication of this empirical finding for those attempting to mobilize consumers in the fight against climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-339
Number of pages25
JournalSemiotica
Volume2012
Issue number192
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2012

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Keywords

  • Environmental behavior
  • Implicit association test
  • Implicit-explicit attitudes
  • Sustainability
  • Unconscious eye movements

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