Encouraging Sustainable Food Consumption by Using More-Appetizing Language. World Resources Institute. Daniel Vennard, Toby Park and Sophie Attwood. February 2019
Encouraging consumers to shift to primarily vegetarian diets is one way to lower the environmental impact of food. This two-phase online study explored the impact of the language used to describe vegetarian food on consumer choice. Phase one involved a consumer preference test to identify appealing alternative names for vegetarian dishes. In phase two, a randomized controlled trial determined the impact of these alternative names on dish choice in a mocked-up menu context.
Experiential and indulgent language to describe vegetarian dishes led to significant increases in the preference of plant-based items. Conversely, the term “meat-free” consistently discouraged consumers from choosing vegetarian dishes. These findings provide initial evidence that it is possible to shift non-vegetarians to eat more plant-based dishes by changing how these are described, with indulgent language out-performing other language categories. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 16 pages].
Climate Change Still Seen as the Top Global Threat, but Cyberattacks a Rising Concern. Pew Research Center. Jacob Poushter and Christine Huang. February 10, 2019
Worries about ISIS and North Korea persist, as fears about American power grow
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report last year expressing serious concerns about the possible impacts of climate change, both in the near and distant future. Broadly speaking, people around the world agree that climate change poses a severe risk to their countries, according to a 26-nation survey conducted in the spring of 2018. In 13 of these countries, people name climate change as the top international threat.
But global warming is just one of many concerns. Terrorism, specifically from the Islamic extremist group known as ISIS, and cyberattacks are also seen by many as major security threats. In eight of the countries surveyed, including Russia, France, Indonesia and Nigeria, ISIS is seen as the top threat. In four nations, including Japan and the United States, people see cyberattacks from other countries as their top international concern. One country, Poland, names Russia’s power and influence as its top threat, but few elsewhere say Russia is a major concern. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 37 pages].
Public Trust and Law Enforcement — A Discussion for Policymakers. Congressional Research Service. Nathan James et al. December 13, 2018
Several high-profile incidents where the police have apparently used excessive force against citizens have generated interest in what role Congress could play in facilitating efforts to build trust between the police and the people they serve. This report provides a brief overview of the federal government’s role in police-community relations.
[PDF format, 27 pages].
Why rural America needs cities. Brookings Institution. Nathan Arnosti and Amy Liu. November 30, 2018
The 2018 midterm elections affirmed that the deep geographic divides within the United States are here to stay. As they did in 2016, Americans living in rural areas overwhelmingly backed Republican candidates, fueled in part by the sense that the American economy is leaving them behind. The plight of rural America, and ideas for its economic revival, continues to animate policy discussions, including among Democrats concerned about their ability to appeal to blue-collar voters. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[HTML format, various paging].
Views of National Identity Differ Less by Age in Central, Eastern Europe than in Western Europe. Pew Research Center. Jeff Diamant and Scott Gardner. December 4, 2018
Young adults in many Western European nations are substantially less likely than older people to say that being Christian, being native to their country, or having ancestry there is important to national belonging – that is, to being “truly British,” “truly French,” and so on.
But in Central and Eastern Europe, there often are no such divides between young adults and older people. Indeed, in many countries in this part of Europe, people of different ages are about equally likely to say that Christianity, birthplace and ancestry are important to national identity. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[HTML format, various paging].
Assessing Outcomes of Online Campaigns Countering Violent Extremism: A Case Study of the Redirect Method. Rand Corporation. Todd C. Helmus, Kurt Klein. December 10, 2018.
The number of programs dedicated to countering violent extremism (CVE) has grown in recent years, yet a fundamental gap remains in the understanding of the effectiveness of such programs. This is particularly the case for CVE campaigns, which are increasingly conducted in the online space. The goal of this report is to help CVE campaign planners better evaluate the impact of online efforts. It reviews prior assessments of online CVE campaigns, provides recommendations for future assessments, and provides a case study of one particular CVE campaign — the Redirect Method. A limited evaluation of the Redirect Method process variables suggests that the implementers are able to use advertisements linking to counter-extremist videos to effectively expose individuals searching for violent jihadist or violent far-right content to content that offers alternative narratives. Users clicked on these ads at a rate on par with industry standards. However, as is the case with other CVE evaluations, this partial evaluation did not assess the impact of the video content on user attitudes or behavior. The potentially highly radical nature of the Redirect Method’s target audience makes evaluation of the campaign particularly complicated and therefore might necessitate the recruitment of former extremists to help gauge audience response. Alternatively, it might be advisable to analyze user comments to understand how a subsample of users respond to the content. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 19 pages].
Where Americans Find Meaning in Life. Pew Research Center. November 20, 2018
Economic, religious and political divides shape where Americans find meaning – but family, career and friendship emerge as common themes
What makes life meaningful? Answering such a big question might be challenging for many people. Even among researchers, there is little consensus about the best way to measure what brings human beings satisfaction and fulfillment. Traditional survey questions – with a prespecified set of response options – may not capture important sources of meaning.
To tackle this topic, Pew Research Center conducted two separate surveys in late 2017. The first included an open-ended question asking Americans to describe in their own words what makes their lives feel meaningful, fulfilling or satisfying. This approach gives respondents an opportunity to describe the myriad things they find meaningful, from careers, faith and family, to hobbies, pets, travel, music and being outdoors.
The second survey included a set of closed-ended (also known as forced-choice) questions asking Americans to rate how much meaning and fulfillment they draw from each of 15 possible sources identified by the research team. It also included a question asking which of these sources gives respondents the most meaning and fulfillment. This approach offers a limited series of options but provides a measure of the relative importance Americans place on various sources of meaning in their lives. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 50 pages].