Understanding Behavioral and Emotional Responses to Frames Used by Animal Rights Organizations in the United States and France

Student: Alysa Tarrant
Majors: French and Francophone Studies, Communication Studies
Advisors: Marion Duval, Yi Zhu

Alysa TarrantThe purpose of this study was to examine how varying demographics among French and American populations responded to three types of frames used by animal rights organizations: ethical, environmental, and health related. A two by three experimental design in which participants saw two images corresponding to one of the three frames was distributed. The survey measured each respondent’s political opinions, emotional response, and behavioral response through self-designed scales. The study finds that culture and political ideologies play a significant role in influencing frame response, such that the French respondents were more emotionally and behaviorally influenced than Americans, and that liberals are more emotionally and behaviorally influenced than conservatives. More specifically, the research also finds that the environmental and ethical frames were significantly different in evoking emotional responses, while the health frame was not. Additionally, the frame effect was significant for emotional response but not for behavioral response.

Alysa will be online to field comments on May 8:
10am-noon EDT (Asia: late evening, PST 6am-8am, Africa/Europe: late afternoon)

56 thoughts on “Understanding Behavioral and Emotional Responses to Frames Used by Animal Rights Organizations in the United States and France”

  1. Really interesting research, Alyssa. Congratulations! I’m wondering how you measured behavioral response. Did you ask what they intended to do, or what they currently did? Your hypotheses about the explanation for the cultural difference are provocative, I hadn’t heard that suggestion about population density before.

    1. Hi Susan,

      Thank you so much for interest! To measure behavioral response I asked about intended response such as if people intended to research more about about animal agriculture. I self created a scale for reliability.

      As for the population density, I have my mom to thank for that! When writing my analysis I couldn’t think of a reason for the behavioral findings and she suggested population density. It turned out that there was quite a bit of research to back it up. Very interesting.

  2. Toutes mes félicitations, Alysa pour ce beau projet! Très heureuse de le voir en ligne et de savoir qu’il est partagé avec les professeurs et étudiants de Wooster. J’espère que tu en es fière. J’aurais aimé que tu puisses le présenter sur notre beau campus mais je suis ravie que tu en laisses une trace électronique. Je n’ai pas de questions… puisque je connais déjà très bien ton étude. Encore une fois, toutes mes felicitations!

    1. Merci pour vos commentaries! C’était un plaisir de travailler avec vous welt j’éspère que je peux être sur campus encore!

  3. Félicitations, Alysa! Pouvez-vous me rappeler combien de répondants français vous avez enregistrés et comment vous les avez trouvés? C’était juste du bouche à oreille, non?

    1. Merci Nick pour tes réponses ! J’avais environ 100 ou 150 répondants française. J’ai utilisé Facebook groups pour trouver les répondants.

  4. Congrats Alysa! It’s cool to learn about your results after hearing about them for the past year! Great job!

    1. Hey Maya! Thank you so much 🙂 It’s so nice to be able to put them all together into one 6 minute presentation and finally have a title. We’ve come far from the beginning of the year!

  5. What a fascinating project, Alysa! As an English professor, I’m especially interested in what we can learn from the frames–what stories they are telling, and how people seem to place themselves within those stories. I find myself somewhat surprised, and possibly heartened, by the environmental and ethical frames garnering more significant responses. In addition to the narrow applicability you mention, is it possible that a health frame is more self-oriented whereas the ethics and environmental frames point people outwards towards communities and ecosystems? (I realize this question might require a new study and new data!) Thanks and congratulations!

    1. Hello Prof Eager. Thank you so much for your comment. I truly think that each individual image in each frame could warrant a new study. I think that it stands to reason that the health frame could be less applicable because it is more self centered. I do think that the health frame could be very successfully used in online advertising because it’s possible to target individuals who do fit a certain demographics. I think you make a very good point about the ethical and environmental frames pointing people outwards but I’m afraid that I don’t have much research to back that up. Perhaps an IS for someone next year? 🙂

  6. Congratulations, Alysa. This presentation represents the culmination of several months of research. The topic was interesting and the presentation was visually compelling and easy to understand. I’m going to share with a global organization that focuses on plant-based nutrition education for physicians (Physicians Association for Nutrition [PAN]). There are some useful nuggets that could inform their strategy. Again, job very well done.

    1. Thanks Mom! It was definitely a project ages in the works but I’m so glad to have been able to create a presentation that you find interesting and visually compelling! I appreciate the sharing and would be happy to consult with them should they be in the market 🙂

  7. Alysa, it was so nice to watch this. (I can remember you working on a related topic from a qualitative perspective back in Rhetoric and Civic Engagement, I believe it was.) I found the cultural context explanation interesting, especially how Americans are desensitized to violence–so true! The population density research you cited was also intriguing. Congratulations!

    1. Prof Bostdorff, thank you so much for your comment. I do remember beginning to think about this as a potential topic in your rhetoric class and am so thrilled to have it finally come together. The population density is definitely something that I would like to explore further. Perhaps another comm IS! I appreciate all of your support throughout the past four years!

  8. Very interesting work! When I was a French professor I developed a course on the environment in France. We did a unit on PETA and other environmental activist techniques. There were some pretty disturbing images that we needed to discuss as a class. Two of my students became vegetarian as a result. Ever since then I have remained fascinated by activist techniques and what actually causes change. My daughter, 15, recently has become vegan. She was inspired by a Billie Eilish post and now is doing her own social media activism.

    I hope you continue to find your project useful to you as you navigate your own choices and apply your methodological expertise to your future career!
    Lisa Perfetti,
    Provost

    1. Hi Dr. Perfetti, thank you so much for your comment! Wow! That sounds so interesting. I wish I had come to you as a resource throughout this process. PETA definitely has some very distributing images which was part of my motivation for doing this topic. I always wondered if what they were actually doing was successful or if it was just driving people away. Despite a limited sample, it does seem that what they’re doing works.

      How exciting to hear about your daughter! It’s amazing how much activism has changed to encompass an online world. We’re truly able to see the power that celebrities have. If she ever has any questions about veganism I would love to be a contact for her.

      Thank you for all you do for Wooster.

      Warmly,
      Alysa

  9. Alysa, that was fascinating and so well presented. What a relevant and interesting topic! Brilliant job and kudos!

    1. Mel, thank you so much! It’s definitely a topic that is close to heart. Thank you for watching and it’s been a pleasure working with you!

  10. Thanks, Alysa. I can’t wait to share your presentation with my daughter. She is also working on a podcast called “Vents from a Vegan.” It’s not public yet but will be some day soon!
    Felicitations!

    1. I will definitely check it out! I run a vegan travel site called Voyaging Herbivore if she’s interested in following along.

  11. Hi Alysa,

    Great work on your IS and on defining the terms and your method at the beginning – it was so helpful in following your important and thorough work! I think it’s so interesting that there is more qualitative than quantitative research on animal rights.

    What are some steps that people and organizations can take to increase the number of quantitative studies on animal rights? Do you think more quantitative research on animal rights could help in developing new policies?

    1. Hey Steph! Thank you for your comments. As a completely personal opinion (I don’t have any research to back it up) I think that people are often receptive to more cold, hard numbers. I think that if animal rights organizations were to invest more time in quantitative studies, we might see an increase in the interest from outside parties regarding marketing techniques. I think to increase the number of studies animal rights organizations need to create more connections with the academic community (hiring by there is a great way 😉 )

  12. Alysa,
    What a great job in presenting a big topic in six minutes. This presentation format was so easy to follow and understand. I find the points about population density to be fascinating – I would like to learn more. Thank you for sharing, and congratulations!

    1. Hey Ryan! Thank you so much for watching. I’m so glad that you found it interesting and I certainly hope that someday I can continue the research with changes! It’s been a pleasure working with you over these past years.

  13. Hi Alysa,
    I really enjoyed your presentation, your topic and findings are very interesting! I was wondering: do you have any ideas as to why your sample was skewed liberal, or ideas about what other future studies should consider doing to prevent this skew?

    1. Hey Emma! Thank you so much for your questions. While not all of my sample was sourced from the college a portion was and the Facebook groups I targeted were primarily liberal as well.

  14. Alysa,
    This was so amazing and very interesting! You made it so easy to understand as an outside viewer on your research. Congratulations on finishing IS and for doing such a wonderful job presenting, wish I could of seen it in person.
    -Emily

    1. Hey Emily! Thank you so much for your lovely comments. Hopefully we’ll be able to do something in person soon!

  15. Terrific job Alysa. Have you talked about your IS with folks at U of E?
    So glad you participated in this symposium. It was nice to “see” and hear you again.

    1. Thanks Dr. Johnson! I’m mentioning it in my application in hopes that it will give ma n upper edge! 🙂

  16. Congrats, Alysa! This was a really cool study. The presentation was well done, too – very easy to understand, and visually appealing. I can tell you put a lot of work into it, and it’s paid off! Well done.

    For the health framing, do you think you would have gotten a different result if you had used images that addressed different health concerns? Cultural attitudes towards both smoking and obesity can be very different between America and France.

    1. Hey Mel! Hope you’re doing well 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind comments! I do think that the results would have differed perhaps if I had targeted a specific group that resonated with the frame, or if I had use more general health frames. Very true in terms of health opinions! It would be really interesting to examine the smoking especially and see how cultural differences effect that.

  17. Thanks for sharing your research, Alysa. It’s cool to see how you’ve integrated so much of your Wooster experience – coursework, study abroad, internships, research – to produce your original scholarship!

    1. Hey Krista! Thank you so much for your lovely comments! It’s been amazing working with you over these past few years. All the best!

  18. Congratulations, Alysa! This is a fascinating study, and you did an exceptional job of explaining it (in 6 minutes!). I’m curious about how you decided which frames to use? Was there any pre-testing of the power of the frames to evoke emotional responses?

    1. Thank you so much Dr. Griffin! The three frames are what researchers find to be the ones most commonly used by animal rights organization.

  19. It was so interesting to learn that France had a greater emotional response to the Vegan ads. Cool project!

    1. Hey Aubry! Thank you so much for watching. It was such an interesting project to conduct. 🙂

  20. This is awesome, Alysa! It’s amazing to see people choose topics that they’re passionate about, and you definitely did that. Congratulations!!

  21. Your IS is such an interesting, important, and relevant investigation into these communication issues. I know you word extremely hard on your project, and your presentation demonstrates your exceptional research and communication skills. Congratulations!

  22. It is awesome to see how you have connected the dots since Junior IS! Congrats and thank you for sharing!

  23. Thanks for sharing this powerful work, Alysa. It is such a timely project, and you make so clear the deep passion you have behind it. Congratulations!

  24. Clear, cogent, and engaging IS presentation on a topic of high interdisciplinary interest. Wonderful to see how you expanded upon your initial research in Junior IS, to incorporate frames used by a variety of animal rights organizations in their campaigns. Responses linked to population density are especially intriguing. Great work!!

  25. Cela faisait longtemps que je voulais en savoir plus sur votre projet fascinant ! Vous l’expliquez avec beaucoup de talent dans votre présentation. Ce projet intègre si bien vos différents centres d’intérêt et passions. Je trouve la structure du projet ainsi que vos conclusions très intéressantes. Toutes mes félicitations !

  26. A good question and a sophisticated conceptualization, Alysa. I’ve enjoyed each of your projects at Wooster, so I’m looking forward now to hearing where your talents lead next. Congratulations, and bonne chance! Ari

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