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Anchoring climate change communications

Harris, AJL; Por, H-H; Broomell, SB; (2017) Anchoring climate change communications. Climatic Change , 140 (3) pp. 387-398. 0.1007/s10584-016-1859-y. Green open access

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Abstract

Verbal probability expressions (VPEs) are frequently used to communicate risk and uncertainty. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change attempts to standardise the use and interpretation of these expressions through a translation scale of numerical ranges to VPEs. A common issue in interpreting VPEs is the tendency for individuals to interpret VPEs around the mid-point of the scale (i.e., around 50%). Previous research has shown that compliance with the IPCC’s standards can be improved if the numerical translation is presented simultaneously with the VPE, reducing the regressiveness of interpretations. We show that an explicit statement of the lower or upper bound implied by the expression (e.g., 0-33%; 66-100%) leads to better differentiated estimates of the probability implied by ‘likely’ and ‘unlikely’ than when the bound is not explicitly identified (e.g., less than 33%; greater than 66%).

Type: Article
Title: Anchoring climate change communications
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 0.1007/s10584-016-1859-y
Publisher version: http://doi.org/0.1007/s10584-016-1859-y
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Risk communication; verbal probability expressions; pragmatics; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; International Accounting Standards
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1528764
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