Rene Weber and Frederick Hopp Analyze How the Moral Framing of Greta Thunberg’s United Nations Address Influenced Its Impact

(From UCSB’s The Current, Santa Barbara, Calif.) — Greta Thunberg’s speech at the United Nations rattled people around the globe. The 16-year-old accused world leaders of neglecting their duty and foisting the problems created by one generation onto the backs of another — today’s youth. Her statement was certainly morally charged. But how exactly did the content of Thunberg’s message impact the effects it may have had? To answer that question, Rene Weber, director of the Media Neuroscience Lab at UC Santa Barbara, and graduate student Frederic Hopp used a system Weber developed in his lab that analyzes real-world moral framing and moral conflict in messages. In line with Thunberg’s strong appeal to the harm and unfairness of the current climate crisis, MoNA identified care/harm and fairness/cheating as the most dominant moral frames in her speech. The results also showed how positive and negative sentiments were associated with these moral frames. For background and more results, see https://www.news.ucsb.edu/2019/019645/impassioned-speech