Communicating environmental data through art: the role of emotion and memory in evoking environmental action

Dorsey B. Kaufmann, Kunal Palawat, Shana Sandhaus, Sanlyn Buxner, Ellen McMahon, Mónica D. Ramírez-Andreotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Innovative approaches to environmental communication are needed to transcend existing scientific knowledge, challenge individual value-action gaps, and engage more people in science. Within a co-created community science project, a case-control study was conducted to determine whether data visualization type could impact participant scientific learning, emotional response, behavioral outcomes, and environmental action. Two novel data sharing types were designed to communicate roof-harvested rainwater data to environmental justice communities: (1) A static booklet and (2) An interactive environmental art installation called Ripple Effect paired with a booklet. Our results indicate that environmental art can not only communicate complex scientific data effectively, but can also overcome barriers associated with traditional science communication by affecting people’s emotion and memory—which increases the likelihood of changing their behavior or taking new action in their environment. These results are consistent with the environmental psychology literature; however, we have successfully captured the role of memory and long-lasting impacts of environmental art on pro-environmental health behavior. This research further paves the way for others to create innovative environmental communication formats to communicate environmental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number940
JournalHumanities and Social Sciences Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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