Department of Business Development and Technology

Images of climate change - a pilot study of young people's perceptions of ICT-based climate visualization

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Climate change can be difficult for laypeople to make sense of, because of its complexity, the uncertainties involved and its distant impacts. Research has identified the potentials of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for visualizing and communicating climate change to lay audiences and thus addressing these communication challenges. However, little research has focused on how ICT-based visualization affects audiences’ understandings of climate change. Employing a semiotic framework and through a combination of focus group interviews and mindmap exercises, we investigated how Swedish students make sense of climate messages presented through an ICT-based visualisation medium; a dome theatre movie. The paper concludes that visualization in immersive environments works well to concretize aspects of climate change and provide a starting point for reflection, but we argue that the potential to add interactive elements should be further explored, as interaction has the potential to influence meaning-making processes. In addition, audiences’ preconceptions of climate change influence their interpretations of climate messages, which may function as a constraint to climate communication.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClimatic Change
Pages (from-to)73-85
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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