attitudes


Climate change: Feeling the heat but keeping it cool

People feel differently about climate change depending on where they live. Taking data from 194 European regions, this column presents a staggering paradox: people living in regions most affected by rising temperatures are less concerned about climate change and show surprising optimism about its reversibility. In contrast, inhabitants of colder regions exhibit more pessimism. Examining migration patterns and regional priorities provides potential explanations for this surprising fact. The most affected regions in the study are also those facing acute economic and financial challenges, which might explain why climate change is not prioritised. The most pessimistic and concerned individuals may have also already migrated, leaving behind an optimistic population in the regions most at risk.

The power of pictures: Visual bias in the news

Imagery within media stories has a powerful effect on the way a reader thinks about a particular topic. This column highlights the strength of the effect, presenting evidence from the United States. Readers’ views on a range of topics – from police budgets to pandemic management – are highly sensitive to the pictures that accompany news stories. People also tend to react more extremely to images that directly confirm or challenge their pre-existing opinions, shining new light on the risk of political polarisation.