Document Type


Date of Original Version



Communication Studies


Efforts to influence attitudes on highly polarizing issues, such as climate change, often fail because individuals interpret political messages through the lens of their partisan identities. However, shifting the identity lens through which an individual interprets a message may result in more effective political communication. Through a preregistered survey experiment (n = 978), this study tested how priming either a partisan or a nonpartisan (parental) identity influenced the effectiveness of a climate change frame on several attitudinal outcomes. Findings suggest that identity salience—specifically partisan identity salience—can influence the effectiveness of a frame. Among Republican parents, receiving a message about the impact of climate change on future generations increased climate change concern and intended proclimate political behaviors, but this framing effect disappeared when a partisan identity was first primed. Among Democrat parents, framing had no significant effect until a partisan identity was first primed. The findings offer important insight into the role that identity salience plays in framing effectiveness and suggest that political communication on polarized issues is likely to be more effective at building bipartisan agreement when nonpartisan identities are salient.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Political Psychology