Ran Duan: Emotions and climate change visual communication


Emotions and climate change visual communication


Ran Duan


Reynolds School of Journalism


I am a new assistant professor at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. My research interests span the areas of environmental, science and visual communication. My current work particularly focuses on the use of animation in environmental news, visual communication of wildfire and climate change, risk perception and the implications of these areas for public policy and journalism practice. I have published in leading peer-reviewed journals such as Climatic Change, Public Understanding of Science, Journalism, Environmental Communication, Environment and Behavior. My work has been supported by national and local funding agencies such as the National Geographic Society, Michigan State University’s Environmental Science and Policy Program and the Reynolds School's Center for Advanced Media Studies. Please check out my website for more information: https://packpages.unr.edu/rduan

I have worked with undergraduate and graduate students at Michigan State University as a project leader. The project focused on the uses of images in climate change reporting, which later led to a conference paper. Last year, I worked with a UNR journalism honors student as a mentor. The student's thesis won the UNR Honors Undergraduate Research Award and later was presented at the American Psychological Association Division 36 Annual Mid-Year Conference.

Project Overview

People nowadays tend to prefer visual news information over reading text. Climate change is a topic that has been frequently covered visually in various media sources. Today, the majority of Americans view climate change as an abstract risk, and how to effectively communicate climate change via images in a more concrete and urgent way remains a challenge. In this project, we will investigate the climate-change related images’ level of abstraction and concreteness, particularly the impact of abstraction and discrete emotions on public opinions and behavioral change. We will review the concept of “abstraction” in the literature of social psychology and visual communication, review the literature on emotions and environmental media communication. We will also design and implement the online experiment, including searching for climate images, conducting pre-test interviews, online data collection, and data analysis. Last, we will work on the manuscript writing and submit the work to a journal for publication.