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Psicologia em Estudo

Print version ISSN 1413-7372

Abstract

MOREIRA, Eduardo Figueiredo; ARAUJO, Ludgleydson Fernandes de  and  PIMENTEL, Carlos Eduardo. Graduate students’ perception on the term ‘environmentalist’: a semantic analysis. Psicol. estud. [online]. 2007, vol.12, n.1, pp. 161-169. ISSN 1413-7372.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-73722007000100019.

The objective of this study is to evaluate the semantic concepts of the term ‘Environmentalist’, according to university students. 325 university students, male and female, took part in the investigation regarding the concept. They attended different courses at university, in areas such as Human Science (49%), Technological (29%) and Biological (22%) area. Out of that total, 182 subjects (56%) were  male and 143 (44%) belonged to the female sex. The average age was from 17 to 49 years old (M = 24 years old, DP = 5,73). An instrument with the stimulation-word ‘environmentalists’, and also social-demographic data, were used, so that the students could choose 10 words associated to the term. Data was analyzed by using the semantic chain technique. Most of the students, defined Environmentalists as ‘defenders’ (quantitative semantic distance = 100%), whereas others defined them as ‘activists’ (80%) and ‘protectors’ (77%). Adjectives with negative connotation such as ‘radical’ (73%), ‘boring’ (61%) and ‘utopian’ (61%) were also used. The comprehension about the way those social actors are perceived by society may contribute to redirect actions and strategies from the third sector, from environmentalist groups or individuals, as well as to extend or get a better public opinion on Environmentalists’ effectiveness.

Keywords : Environmentalists; chain of semantic meaning; social perception.

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