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Posters Counteracting Plastic Usage and Littering

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Global warming, animal extinction, and the depletion of natural resources are among the many indications that the Earth’s natural ecosystem is at risk. The consequences of such environmental issues range from health problems to the planet’s viability. The drive to ‘go green’ is evident in our daily lives, from the food bought to the products used at home. The present concerns are exacerbated by human behavior. Oceanic plastic pollution is a global crisis affecting both humans and marine species alike. As a consequence of modern industrialization, an increasing amount of plastic waste is continuously finding its way into the oceans. It is reported that approximately 40% of plastic is found on the oceanic surface (Centers for Biodiversity, 2018). This has been instigated and maintained by the rising demand for plastics due to their flexibility, versatility, and relatively inexpensive cost.

Over the past few years, several technical solutions have been formulated to curb the issue of plastic pollution. However, they have proven to be ineffective, and this has emphasized the need to highlight the impact of human behavior (Heidbreder, Bablok, Drews, & Menzel, 2019). Literature suggests that there is a gap between plastic-related behavior and high problem awareness (Heidbreder et al., 2019). There are several factors that may explain people’s lack of change. For instance, most environmental crises occur gradually, in that, they take centuries to develop; hence, this inhibits their ability to see the direct consequences of human behavior. Several psychological intervention strategies can be used to combat such kinds of acts, with one channel being the media. Posters, a type of print media, play a significant role in spreading information about reducing plastic usage and raising awareness. Posters placed and distributed in public spaces and prepared with strong visualization served as efficient tools in influencing and changing public behavior and opinion on an issue.

Research has shown that the media is significantly impactful in educating the public and influencing their opinion and conduct. The intensity of their impact is heightened when their visualization and message embrace emotion and rationality, which are regarded as foundational components of human life. Although similar in terms of their basis, there is an unclear disparity between these two elements with regard to advertising (Oñate, Teixidó, & Cagiao, 2018). Regardless, when distinguishing the communication models in the rational discourse, the two typologies can be differentiated. The rational model is divided into an informative and persuasive one (Oñate et al., 2018). The former is the classic version in which preference is given to a specific product, but there are also rational approaches seeking consumer simplicity. Conversely, the latter utilizes emotional arguments to connect with the target audience and make a product more attractive. On the other hand, the emotion model is also subdivided into different communication models (Oñate et al., 2018). The classic emotional model retorts to the description of emotional communication, in which other archetypes, such as the social creativity model, should be incorporated. Conversely, in the Fame model, the advertising principle is based on instigating and fostering popularity.


Experimental Design and Procedure

The study embraced a quasi-experimental field design that comprised of three conditions. It primarily emphasized the comparison of the effects of rational and emotional posters. The participants subjected to the three conditions constituted 96 college students; with 48 respondents (50%) having a psychology background for the control condition, and the other half, 50%, having no psychology background. Participants were recruited, and questionnaires were administered on the same day. Two types of questionnaires were administered. First, the baseline (survey with no treatment, which acted as the control), followed by questionnaires embedded with rational and emotional posters that constituted the experimental condition.


Questionnaires were used to evaluate the perception of posters and their psychological impacts. One only contained questions, the other contained questions regarding a poster with an emotional theme, and the third, questions regarding a poster (Poster A) with a rational theme (Poster B). The contents of the questionnaires fell under two topics; the environmental concern measure and the green scale. The 96 respondents were randomly approached and handed out the questionnaires immediately after obtaining consent. Almost everyone can produce posters; hence, they are a relatively cheap method of spreading information. The first items of the survey focused on the gender and age of the participants. After that, the participants reviewed the two posters, and the questions on these two images were asked. These items revolved around their perception of plastic pollution, their littering behavior, and possible mitigation strategies. The answers were graded on point rating scales from 1, suggesting ‘not at all’ or ‘strongly disagree.’

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Statistical Analysis and Manipulation Check

SPSS statistics version 20 was used to analyze the data collected. The three data collection tools were contrasted based on their total environmental concern measure (ECM) and total green scale (GS). The inferential statistical methods used comprised the Shapiro-Wilk’s, the Freidman’s, and Post Hoc tests. The criterion for the main hypotheses on the difference between the emotional and rational posters was that they hold specific characteristics. Consequentially, the below manipulation check hypotheses were formulated:

In terms of gender, 68 (70.8%) of the participants were female and 28 (29.2%) male.

In determining, the relationship between and within groups, the Shapiro-Wilk’s test was first used to test for normality since the sample size was relatively small. In table 1, for all conditions except GS1, the p-value was less than 0.05, therefore, indicating a significant result. In simpler terms, this meant that the data was not normally distributed, and only the GS1 was an exception.

Subsequently, due to the lack of normality, Friedman’s test was used to test for the difference between groups. The results demonstrated that there was a statistically significant difference between the baseline questionnaires and those embedded with rational and emotional posters, χ2 (5) = 395.739, p = 0.000.

Comparison between the Baseline and Experimental Conditions

A Wilcoxon signed-rank test showed that the questionnaire with the rational poster did not elicit a statistically significant change in the environmental concern measure (ECM) as compared to the baseline questionnaire (Z= -1.531, p

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Posters Counteracting Plastic Usage and Littering. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from
“Posters Counteracting Plastic Usage and Littering.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022,
Posters Counteracting Plastic Usage and Littering. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 8 Feb. 2023].
Posters Counteracting Plastic Usage and Littering [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2023 Feb 8]. Available from:
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