TRANSLATIONAL ECOLOGY

For a Translational Ecology Project (communicating Scientific info to normal people), 5 Utah State University students and I collaborated on a project to survey students about the effectiveness of various methods of communicating information: infographics, audio, and text.  

Our class sent out a survey to several undergraduate classes, asking their opinions and knowledge about air quality and health in Cache Valley. We then exposed them each to information about air quality and its links to health, either in the form of an infographic, an audio clip, or a block of text. We then asked the same questions about their opinions on air quality and if they were now more or less likely to alter their behavior on inversion days. (inversions occur in Cache Valley, and are days in which air quality is particularly harmful)

We were interested in seeing which of the three interventions could be the most persuasive, so we measured the change in percentage of students who believe in a link between air quality and human health, particularly prenatal health.

 

  • We found that the audio intervention caused more change in response between questions asked before and after. This could be because a lot of our questions were geared directly toward the information contained in the audio versus in the other two interventions.

 

  • On the infographic, there were significant changes on the question on overall health as well as the relationship between air quality and mothers and unborn babies.

 

  • The text intervention seems to have been less persuasive. The answers didn’t change much from the pre-intervention to post-intervention.

 

Here are some of the significant behavior changes (or rather how students claim they may change their behavior after being exposed to the intervention) we observed:

  • 27.3% said they were somewhat likely to take public transportation on bad air days.
  • 26.3% said they were very likely to reduce idling when warming up a vehicle.
  • 18.7% said they are not likely to refrain from using a drive-thru window.
  • 20.1% said they were very likely to reduce the number of trips taken in a day.

 

Demographics:

  • 68.6% from Utah; 31.4% from somewhere else
  • 15.7% married; 84.3% not married
  • 6.8% have children; 93.2% do not have children
  • 91.8% plan to have children in the future; 8.2% do not plan on having children in the future
  • Age Range: 19-58 years old
  • 45.1% male; 54.9% female

Collaborators on the project: Taya Carothers, Betsey York, Beth Shirley, Aaron Evans, Lauren Dupey, and Mark Brunson