Seeing is Believing

Analysing the comparative effects of textual vs visual presentation of the health impacts of climate change on attitudes and behavioural intentions of the UK general public.

This project investigates the effect of presentation format in understanding information on the impacts of climate change. The general public in the UK has been shown to believe that climate change is A) real and B) caused by humans. However, the public remains sceptical that climate change will have a significant impact upon them (Poortinga 2011).

This trend exists despite publications that have suggested climate change will have a significant impact on human health (Parry, 2007). The data contained in such reports can be complex, and the systems relating climate and weather to health may be difficult to understand.

It has been suggested that visual presentation can be an effective way of displaying complex data to a range of audiences (Fry, 2008; Tufte, 2003). As climate change “does not fit well within linear, narrative causal forms” (Grotzer & Lincoln, 2007) and visual presentation allows for viewers to explore information in a non-sequential manner (Thomas & Cook, 2005), we plan to trial graphical display techniques as a novel way of conveying the health impacts of climate change, within the context of a rigorous research design.