Visual art inspired by climate change-An analysis of audience reactions to 37 artworks presented during 21st UN climate summit in Paris
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonPLOS ONE. 2021, 16 (2), . 10.1371/journal.pone.0247331
This paper suggests and tests a psychological model of environmental art perception and subsequent support for climate change policies. The model is based on findings from art perception and environmental psychology, which indicate that the response of the viewer to the artwork is (1) first an emotional reaction, which can be positive and/or negative. The emotional activation leads to (2) evaluation of the perceived quality of the artwork. This forms the first impression of the artwork the viewer gets, which then triggers (3) reflections on the artwork that are finally related to support for climate policies. The model test uses data collected at the ArtCOP21 that accompanied the 21st UN climate summit in Paris. At 37 connected events, the research team collected 883 audience responses with a brief quantitative paper-pencil questionnaire. The data were analyzed using a multilevel-structural equation modeling approach. Results support the suggested theoretical model. Moreover, the effect of reflections on the artwork on support for climate policies is moderated by environmental attitudes, meaning the lower the environmental attitudes, the higher the effect of reflections on policy support. Finally, artwork features like color, size, displaying something personal, etc., could be identified that had a significant relation to differences on the artwork level regarding the first impression of the artwork and the reflections elicited. The study shows that being confronted with climate change-related artwork relates at least in the short run to increased climate policy support, which is mostly channeled through an emotional activation with following cognitive processing. Features of the artwork relate to how strongly and which emotions are activated.