YouTube, Social Norms and Perceived Salience of Climate Change in the American Mind

James T. Spartz, Leona Yi Fan Su, Robert Griffin, Dominique Brossard, Sharon Dunwoody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This online experiment explored how contextual information embedded in new media channels such as YouTube may serve as normative social cues to users. Specifically, we examined whether the number of views listed under a YouTube video about climate change would elicit inferences regarding how “others” feel about the climate issue and, consequently, might influence perceptions of issue salience. Participants in this experiment were exposed to a YouTube video about climate change using two experimental conditions, one providing a small number of views under the video and the second listing a large number of views. Results suggest that the “number of views” cue did, indeed, influence participant perceptions of the importance assigned by other Americans to the issue of climate change. Further, compared to low self-monitoring participants, high self-monitoring participants registered an increase in their own judgment of issue importance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • climate change
  • new media
  • self-monitoring
  • social norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'YouTube, Social Norms and Perceived Salience of Climate Change in the American Mind'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this