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Aug 26, 2019 Article
Using humor to engage the public on climate change: the effect of exposure to one-sided vs. two-sided satire on message discounting, elaboration and counterarguing

by Amy Becker and Ashley A. Anderson

The research explores the differential impact of exposure to one-sided vs. two-sided satire about climate change on message processing. Analyzing experimental data (N =141) we find that one-sided satire offered by ‘The Onion’ ironically claiming that global warming is a hoax encourages viewers to engage in greater message elaboration and counterarguing. In contrast, two-sided satire offered by ‘The Weather Channel’ that makes jokes about those who believe in vs. reject human involvement in climate change is quickly discounted. We conclude by discussing the strategic value of incorporating one-sided satirical humor in communication efforts focused on climate change engagement.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019