Event Title

Transforming Negativity: Narratives of Global Warming and Its Effects

Presenter Information

Ifunanya Ezimora, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center, Bent Corridor

Start Date

10-2-2015 12:00 PM

End Date

10-2-2015 1:20 PM

Poster Number

31

Abstract

Understanding the implications of climate change and the efforts needed to restore our planet can leave people at a loss, pushing them into a state of despair. Lertzman (2012) argues that emotions associated with negativity and despair can be transformative, that it is only by acknowledging negative emotions that we become able to address climate change. However, other research shows that talking about negative emotions can lead to defensiveness and disengagement. This project will answer the question of whether acknowledging negative emotions (despair, sadness, incapability) about environmental degradation and climate change help us to more effectively respond to the crisis, and what would be the best way to acknowledge and transform these emotions into action. In Study 1, we will collect narratives of personal experiences about natural disaster and (transforming) despair. Study 2 will incorporate these narratives as part of a series of Community Voices slides embedded in the Oberlin Environmental Dashboard website to determine whether these transformative messages promote greater positive change in viewers compared to the change encouraged by slides with explicitly positive messages and a control group devoid of slides.

Major

Psychology; Environmental Studies

Award

Science and Technology Research Opportunities for a New Generation (STRONG)

Project Mentor(s)

Cindy Frantz, Psychology
John Petersen, Environmental Studies
Rumi Shammin, Environmental Studies

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Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM Oct 2nd, 1:20 PM

Transforming Negativity: Narratives of Global Warming and Its Effects

Science Center, Bent Corridor

Understanding the implications of climate change and the efforts needed to restore our planet can leave people at a loss, pushing them into a state of despair. Lertzman (2012) argues that emotions associated with negativity and despair can be transformative, that it is only by acknowledging negative emotions that we become able to address climate change. However, other research shows that talking about negative emotions can lead to defensiveness and disengagement. This project will answer the question of whether acknowledging negative emotions (despair, sadness, incapability) about environmental degradation and climate change help us to more effectively respond to the crisis, and what would be the best way to acknowledge and transform these emotions into action. In Study 1, we will collect narratives of personal experiences about natural disaster and (transforming) despair. Study 2 will incorporate these narratives as part of a series of Community Voices slides embedded in the Oberlin Environmental Dashboard website to determine whether these transformative messages promote greater positive change in viewers compared to the change encouraged by slides with explicitly positive messages and a control group devoid of slides.