Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

Memes and behavior: A reasoned action approach to exploring reactance of environmental comedic rhetoric within the social network

Sophia Deklyn DeLucca, James Madison University


Climate change, environmental catastrophe, or even the issues behind single use plastic water bottles can all sound like scary or unwanted topics. Understanding climate change and other environmental issues through the scope of comedy can offer different reactions and perspectives to the issues at hand. Developed by Martin Fishbein and Icek Ajzen in 1967, The Reasoned Action Approach and Jack Brehm’s, Psychological Reactance Theory, are used to offer insights on the reactions of people when exposed to environmental memes. Understanding people’s reactions to comedy in cross examination with the particular subject of the environment offers many insights and there is value in understanding such communication. Such values may include insights to developing new advocacy or communication techniques. People respond to comedy in many different ways, this study puts into question how and who is reacting one way in comparison to those of different demographics and perspectives to the topic of the environment. In wanting to learn more about people’s shift in thought and behavior regarding environmental topics after being exposed to comedy, this study was created.