Attenuating Initial Beliefs: Increasing the Acceptance of Anthropogenic Climate Change Information by Reflecting on Values

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Anthropogenic climate change information tends to be interpreted against the backdrop of initial environmental beliefs, which can lead to some people being resistant toward the information. In this article (N = 88), we examined whether self-affirmation via reflection on personally important values could attenuate the impact of initial beliefs on the acceptance of anthropogenic climate change evidence. Our findings showed that initial beliefs about the human impact on ecological stability influenced the acceptance of information only among nonaffirmed participants. Self-affirmed participants who were initially resistant toward the information showed stronger beliefs in the existence of climate change risks and greater acknowledgment that individual efficacy has a role to play in reducing climate change risks than did their nonaffirmed counterparts.

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