Comparing effects of comedic and authoritative video presentations on student knowledge and attitudes about climate change

B. Elijah Carter, Jason R. Wiles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Given the diverse array of media sources available to students today, it stands to reason that some media outlets would be of greater quality than others when communicating particular subjects to students. But what constitutes effectiveness among the many choices in information sourcing might not be easily intuited. For example, previous findings have shown viewers of comedy “news” shows (the type of news show most frequently watched by younger viewers) to be better informed on some issues than viewers of other “news” outlets such as Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC. As students encounter them on their own, and as instructors often introduce topics using clips from current popular programs, we sought to compare the effects of two different sets of videos, one comedic and one authoritative scientific, on students' knowledge of and attitudes towards climate change as well as how the two sets of videos were received by students. Surprisingly, we found no difference in effects on students' knowledge of or attitudes towards climate change. We did find however, that students generally felt that the authoritative videos were more likely to influence the way someone might vote, and that liberal students felt both videos were slightly more likely to influence voting than conservative students. We also note a disjunction between self-reported understanding of climate science and actual knowledge thereof, and we make suggestions for future studies on media related to climate change and for climate change educators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2016


  • Climate change
  • Instructional video
  • Media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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