Tuesday 4th Feb, 5:00 pm
YouTube videos are commonly used to communicate science to the general public. However, there is little evidence to show whether short, entertaining videos actually have any impact on viewer behaviour.
We conducted an innovative experiment to measure the impact of short YouTube clips on aquarium owners care of their pet fish. Two 50-second videos were created, one that was positively framed and one that was negatively framed.
Results showed that participants (n=197) who did not watch a video did not improve their aquarium care in the following month, even when they had intended to. Watching either one of the videos significantly improved aquarium care, but only if the viewer had a pre-existing intention to do so. There was no difference in behaviour between the positive and negatively framed videos, but participants who watched the positive video had increased recall and understanding of the key message.
Our research suggests that YouTube videos about pet care should be positively framed and target people who wish to change their behaviour but have not yet taken action on those intentions.