Effective Communication When People Don'T Care (Enough) and ...

Effective Communication When People Don'T Care (Enough) and ...

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION WHEN PEOPLE DONT CARE (ENOUGH) AND WHEN THEY RESIST: THREE COMMON PROBLEMS AND FIVE STRATEGIES WINNIFRED R. LOUIS SCHOOL OF PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND Who am I? Former Canadian, immigrant to Australia School of Psychology at the University of Queensland

15 years & 100 papers into my career Focus on decision-making in conflict [email protected] 2 Three problems

1. Group boundaries that block trust and engagement; 2. Backlashes generated by messages about problem behaviours as widespread; and 3. Battle-hardened issue-based identities that protect people against change. Five evidence-based strategies to increase effective communication

1. Focus on groups not individuals 2. Define the problem group narrowly and our side inclusively 3. Focus on positive change (which often means widening the time horizon) 4. Use other speakers/sources (chain of trust)

5. Welcome half measures - attack the other extreme, but reward the moderates Terms I throw around a lot Norms social rules or standards for behaviour Identities peoples sense of themselves re who they are politicians, civil servants, activists, Green voters, etc.

What is effective communication in conflict? Raises awareness Creates sympathy Leads to intentions to act Evokes actual action Avoids (too much) countermobilisation Adapted from Klandermans & Oegema (1994) Why is communication so rubbish in Canberra? Bureaucrats Politicians The are morons.

are morons . public are morons . Party x (e.g., the Green Party) are morons . No! Effective communication within groups is not the same as effective communication between groups The end of the world

Public religion research institute, cited in Washington Post, November 2014 9 Trust and openness are given within groups 2 Highlighting negative norms doesnt work Australians have a problem with Obesity Not using sun protection Not saving enough for their retirement

Energy Water conservation conservation For ordinary punters, not only does not decrease problem behaviour, can increase it! Works for campaign designers. 3 Battle-hardened opinion group identities

Identities dont just attach to social groups like nations or religions People identify with opinion groups of supporters or opponents I support renewable energy targets I oppose Adani funding Power

of identity depends on many factors repeated activation, relevance, psychological needs Conflict vivid makes identities more powerful and Why is that a problem? Mention of the topic evokes an opinion based

identity Murray Darling basin you know where you stand With the identity are linked norms - beliefs, emotions, and actions E.g., You are already sceptical, angry, and ready to defend or attack Instead of being relaxed or open-minded you

are a cognitive lawyer, searching for weakness and ready to prosecute Three common problems 1. Group boundaries that block trust and engagement; 2. Backlashes generated by messages about problem behaviours; and 3. Battle-hardened issue-based identities that protect people against

change. Five evidence-based strategies to increase effective communication 1. Focus on groups not individuals 2. Define the problem group narrowly and our side inclusively 3. Focus on positive change (which often means widening the time horizon)

4. Use other speakers/sources (chain of trust) 5. Welcome half measures - attack the other extreme, but reward the moderates What is the problem? Terrorists Authoritie s political opponents of authority

Passive constituents of political opponents 16 What is the problem? 17 New coal Energy users Envt campaigners All of us

. Is there something we are missing when we communicate that is contributing? Yes Environmental attitudes and behaviour (like most attitudes and behaviour) are group normative They vary within a range set by social norms (a groups standards or rules) Environmental communication is about groups and identities That

is why we totally fail to influence some people Some environmental messages make things worse highlight a negative norm polarize opponents (make salient their conflicting identity and increase their adherence to oppositional norms) credential

opponents (making them look tough or like legitimate leaders because they are attacked) delegitimise allies, agents of change (e.g., attacking half measures) Make support for green policy partisan Justifying bipartisanship? All major human thrashing of the planet has been bipartisan and continues to be think cars,

meat-eating, travel Five years after both sides have embraced it, we are all committed to the cause think ahead to that time and act as if we are already there The environment IS a bipartisan issue 20 Purity vs behaviour change

Purity motives promote rejection and condemnation by leaders and group members vs inclusive welcoming Defeating and judging can create resentment and countermobilisation Welcoming half-measures promotes change more than condemning them Coopting

is good for the issue, wedging is bad Ultimately the other side would ideally own the change Giving a message from people in the target group about positive change Passing the message across a chain of trust

Target audiences Target audiences Partisans Five evidence-based strategies to increase effective communication 1. Focus on groups not individuals 2. Define the problem group narrowly and our side inclusively

3. Focus on positive change (which often means widening the time horizon) 4. Use other speakers/sources (chain of trust) 5. Welcome half measures - attack the other extreme, but reward the moderates Thank you! [email protected]

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