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Local Warming: Daily Temperature Change Influences Belief in Global Warming

17 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2011 Last revised: 18 Feb 2013

Ye Li

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Management and Marketing; Center for Decision Sciences, Columbia University

Eric J. Johnson

Columbia Business School - Marketing

Lisa Zaval

Columbia Univeristy - Psychology

Date Written: February 8, 2011

Abstract

Although people are quite aware of global warming, their beliefs about it may be malleable; specifically, their beliefs may be constructed in response to questions about global warming. Beliefs may reflect irrelevant but salient information, such as the current day’s temperature. This replacement of a more complex, less easily accessed judgment with a simple, more accessible one is known as attribute substitution. In three studies, we asked residents of the United States and Australia to report their opinions about global warming and whether the temperature on the day of the study was warmer or cooler than usual. Respondents who thought that day was warmer than usual believed more in and had greater concern about global warming than respondents who thought that day was colder than usual. They also donated more money to a global-warming charity if they thought that day seemed warmer than usual. We used instrumental variable regression to rule out some alternative explanations.

Keywords: Judgment, Environmental Effects

Suggested Citation

Li, Ye and Johnson, Eric J. and Zaval, Lisa, Local Warming: Daily Temperature Change Influences Belief in Global Warming (February 8, 2011). Psychological Science, 2011, 22(4). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1765982

Ye Li (Contact Author)

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Management and Marketing ( email )

United States

Center for Decision Sciences, Columbia University

New York, NY
United States

Eric J. Johnson

Columbia Business School - Marketing ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States

Lisa Zaval

Columbia Univeristy - Psychology ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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