The impact of comics on audiences' knowledge of, attitude toward, and behavioral intentions related to wind energy

Date
2013-01-01
Authors
Lin, Xiao
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Lulu Rodriguez
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Altmetrics
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Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
Abstract

This study compares two modes of presenting information about wind energy in brochure form--one using photographs and the other using cartoons as visual aids--on audience's knowledge of, attitudes toward, and behavioral intentions regarding wind energy. Participants were randomly assigned to the two treatments. Both brochures aim to debunk "myths" and unfounded statements about wind energy.

The results show a relatively low knowledge level about wind energy, suggesting the need for more science-based communication efforts. There were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of knowledge and attitudes, but those shown the cartoon/comics version showed stronger behavioral intentions (e.g., greater willingness to support government initiatives to make wind a significant part of national efforts to meet future energy needs, greater willingness to support investments in wind energy development, including wind projects) than the photo group. Both groups positively evaluated the brochure they have read, although those shown the cartoon/comics version found it more informative, interesting, and cognitively engaging. Those presented with the photo version found the brochure more credible, indicating that cartoons are still viewed as appropriate for entertainment or light-hearted content, but not for serious-minded topics.

Those exposed to the photo version showed statistically significant correlations between knowledge and attitude, and between attitude and behavioral intentions. Those shown the cartoon/comics version, on the other hand, demonstrated statistically significant correlations between knowledge, attitudes and behavioral intentions, indicating that the comics version offers a more efficient path toward the development of stronger intentions to perform recommended behaviors.

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