Fischer, L. M, Cummins, R. G., Gilliam, K. C., Baker, M., Burris, S., & Irlbeck, E. (2018). Examining the critical moments in information processing of water conservation videos within young farmers and ranchers: A psychophysiological analysis. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(2), 1-15


Discussions on how to conserve and provide enough water has become one of the most highly debated issues in modern society. Although many Extension efforts have engaged the public in understanding behavior and attitudes toward water conservation, limited research has focused on understanding how agriculturalists respond to water conservation messages. The goal of this study was to employ the use of a psychophysiological measure to determine what message components elicited increased information processing during exposure to two water conservation videos. When the two videos were compared in total, no significant difference in heart rate was observed. However, a more granular analysis of phasic or short-term periods of heart rate deceleration revealed five segments of increased cognitive resource allocation while viewing the scientific video and three segments during the testimonial evidence video. Finally, self-report data approached statistical significance, with the subjects reporting greater elaboration while viewing the testimonial evidence video compared to the scientific video treatment. These findings provide unique evidence suggesting that farmers and ranchers allocate greater cognitive resources to scientific evidence, on screen graphics, and narrated statistics.

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