School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
The Rise of Global Warming Skepticism: Exploring Affective Image Associations in the United States Over Time
Article first published online: 4 APR 2012
© 2012 Society for Risk Analysis
Volume 32, Issue 6, pages 1021–1032, June 2012
How to Cite
Smith, N. and Leiserowitz, A. (2012), The Rise of Global Warming Skepticism: Exploring Affective Image Associations in the United States Over Time. Risk Analysis, 32: 1021–1032. doi: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2012.01801.x
- Issue published online: 18 JUN 2012
- Article first published online: 4 APR 2012
- Affective image associations;
- global warming;
This article explores how affective image associations to global warming have changed over time. Four nationally representative surveys of the American public were conducted between 2002 and 2010 to assess public global warming risk perceptions, policy preferences, and behavior. Affective images (positive or negative feelings and cognitive representations) were collected and content analyzed. The results demonstrate a large increase in “naysayer” associations, indicating extreme skepticism about the issue of climate change. Multiple regression analyses found that holistic affect and “naysayer” associations were more significant predictors of global warming risk perceptions than cultural worldviews or sociodemographic variables, including political party and ideology. The results demonstrate the important role affective imagery plays in judgment and decision-making processes, how these variables change over time, and how global warming is currently perceived by the American public.