Kathleen Hall Jamieson's research while affiliated with University of Pennsylvania and other places

Publications (202)

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Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, until recently the host of a nationally syndicated U.S. television show, is among the media figures who have espoused health views unsanctioned by established medical authorities such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. In a large, probability-based national lo...
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How do religious affiliation and beliefs shape vaccine attitudes and behaviors? This study examined the associations of attitudes and behaviors relevant to the flu, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), and human-papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines with religious affiliations, as well as philosophical, spiritual, and moral beliefs. Respondents were 3,005 adults f...
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Although declines in intent to vaccinate had been identified in international surveys conducted between June and October 2020, including in the United States, some individuals in the United States who previously expressed reluctance said, in spring 2021, that they were willing to vaccinate. That change raised the following questions: What factors p...
Book
Conspiracy theories spread more widely and faster than ever before. Fear and uncertainty prompt people to believe false narratives of danger and hidden plots, but are not sufficient without considering the role and ideological bias of the media. This timely book focuses on making sense of how and why some people respond to their fear of a threat by...
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, conspiracy theorists have exploited the provisional nature of scientific consensus and the realities of how science is conducted to paint scientists and public health leaders as malign actors.
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Rationale Previous research has shown that during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, users of conservative media were more likely to accept conspiracy theories about the pandemic and less likely to accept pandemic mitigation measures such as mask-wearing and vaccination. Objective To test the hypothesis that during the first year...
Article
This study examines the effects of exposure to media narratives about science on perceptions pertaining to the reliability of science, including trust, beliefs, and support for science. In an experiment (n = 4497), participants were randomly assigned to read stories representing ecologically valid media narratives; the honorable quest, counterfeit...
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A fundamental challenge complicates news decisions about covering vaccine side effects: although serious vaccine side effects are rare, less severe ones do occur occasionally. The study was designed to test whether a side effect message could induce vaccine hesitancy and whether that could be countered by pro-vaccine messages about vaccine safety....
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Social media platforms rarely provide data to misinformation researchers. This is problematic as platforms play a major role in the diffusion and amplification of mis- and disinformation narratives. Scientists are often left working with partial or biased data and must rush to archive relevant data as soon as it appears on the platforms, before it...
Article
Political interest is a key predictor of likelihood to vote. We argue that the political interest–vote intention relationship can be explained by well-established theories that predict behavior across domains (e.g., theory of reasoned action, theory of planned behavior). Relying on the integrated behavioral model, we propose a core mediation model...
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Background: Holding conspiracy beliefs regarding the coronavirus pandemic in the US has been associated with reductions in both actions to prevent the spread of the infection (e.g., mask wearing) and intentions to accept a vaccine when one becomes available. Patterns of media use have also been associated with acceptance of Covid-19 conspiracy bel...
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YouTube's propagation of misleading protobacco content to youth has the potential to increase their protobacco beliefs, attitudes, and smoking behavior. We assessed the effects of potential interventions aimed at ameliorating the effect of misleading protobacco videos. An online experiment randomly exposed past and current young tobacco users (N =...
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Rationale: The COVID-19 pandemic poses extraordinary challenges to public health. Objective: Because the novel coronavirus is highly contagious, the widespread use of preventive measures such as masking, physical distancing, and eventually vaccination is needed to bring it under control. We hypothesized that accepting conspiracy theories that we...
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Objectives. To determine whether holding vaccine misconceptions, in the form of negative beliefs about vaccines, correlates with opposing governmental action at all levels designed to increase vaccination (e.g., removing personal belief and religious vaccine exemptions). Methods. Drawing on data from a nationally representative survey of 1938 US ad...
Article
Objective Using longitudinal methods to assess regional associations between social media posts about vaccines and attitudes and actual vaccination against influenza in the US. Methods Geolocated tweets from U.S. counties (N = 115,330) were analyzed using MALLET LDA (Latent Dirichlet allocation) topic modeling techniques to correlate with prospect...
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Despite scientific consensus, a partisan divide persists among Americans over the existence and causes of climate change. One body of research explains this divide by positing that individuals tend to uphold the expectations of their cultural groups in order to protect their social standing and community’s values. To determine whether such identity...
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Public understanding of and support for GM foods in the U.S. are generally low and out of step with the scientific community, and particularly among those who identify as environmentalists. In order to communicate the scientific consensus on GM foods to these audiences, messages may need to be tailored to reduce reactance. We employ a messaging exp...
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A US national probability-based survey during the early days of the SARS-CoV-2 spread in the US showed that, above and beyond respondents’ political party, mainstream broadcast media use (e.g., NBC News) correlated with accurate information about the disease's lethality, and mainstream print media use (e.g., the New York Times) correlated with accu...
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Objectives. To understand how Twitter accounts operated by the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) discussed vaccines to increase the credibility of their manufactured personas. Methods. We analyzed 2.82 million tweets published by 2689 IRA accounts between 2015 and 2017. Combining unsupervised machine learning and network analysis to identify “...
Article
When deciding whether to vaccinate, people often seek information through consequential processes that are not currently well understood. A survey of a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults (N = 2,091) explored the factors associated with intentions to seek influenza vaccine information in the 2018-2019 influenza season. This survey shed...
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Surveys of nearly 2,500 Americans, conducted during a measles outbreak, suggest that users of traditional media are less likely to be misinformed about vaccines than social media users. Results also suggest that an individual’s level of trust in medical experts affects the likelihood that a person’s beliefs about vaccination will change.
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Public opinion regarding genetic control of infectious disease vectors such as mosquitoes varies in part because the underlying risk and benefit perceptions about novel gene editing and genetic engineering (GE) techniques are multi-faceted. We designed a survey of the US population (N = 1137) to unpack some of those complexities. Of particular inte...
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Trust in science increases when scientists and the outlets certifying their work honor science’s norms. Scientists often fail to signal to other scientists and, perhaps more importantly, the public that these norms are being upheld. They could do so as they generate, certify, and react to each other’s findings: for example, by promoting the use and...
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A conversion narrative recounts the process that led the speaker to reject one belief for a different, usually incompatible, alternative. However, researchers know little about whether, when, and, if so, how such messages affect audience attitudes about controversial science. Using a general U.S. population-sample experiment, we assessed the attitu...
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This study assessed the effects of the February through September 2016 American news media’s coverage of Zika Virus (ZIKV) risk on the U.S. public’s familiarity, knowledge and behavior in the form of interpersonal discussions. A content analysis (N = 2,782 pieces) revealed that the Rio Olympic Games elicited a spike in coverage of Zika. We also fou...
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In May 2016, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released the report “Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects,” summarizing scientific consensus on genetically engineered crops and their implications. NASEM reports aim to give the public and policymakers information on socially relevant science issu...
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Scholars are divided over whether communicating to the public the existence of scientific consensus on an issue influences public acceptance of the conclusions represented by that consensus. Here, we examine the influence of four messages on perception and acceptance of the scientific consensus on the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)...
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Public trust in agricultural biotechnology organizations that produce so-called ‘genetically-modified organisms’ (GMOs) is affected by misinformed attacks on GM technology and worry that producers' concern for profits overrides concern for the public good. In an experiment, we found that reporting that the industry engages in open and transparent r...
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Methods: A national US sample of 610 parents with at least 1 child between ages 6 and 17 was randomly assigned to view a series of four 90-second video clips from popular films depicting violent gun use under either justified or unjustified conditions. Graphic consequences were removed to mimic the violence common in PG-13 movies. Parents reported...
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Background: This study examined the influences of information sources on Zika-relevant knowledge and behaviors in US households containing members who are pregnant, intend to become pregnant, or have a higher probability of unintended pregnancy in Zika-affected regions (i.e. respondents who are younger, are black, have less education, are unmarrie...
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Background: People's intentions to use vaccines are influenced by their beliefs about both the specific vaccine and the disease it prevents. In the absence of firm beliefs about Zika virus (ZIKV), individuals may base their intentions to vaccinate against it on beliefs about other vaccines, and specifically the misbelief that MMR causes autism. M...
Article
After documenting the existence and exploring some implications of three alternative news narratives about science and its challenges, this essay outlines ways in which those who communicate science can more accurately convey its investigatory process, self-correcting norms, and remedial actions, without in the process legitimizing an unwarranted “...
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In keeping with the growing movement in scientific publishing toward transparency in data and methods, we propose changes to journal authorship policies and procedures to provide insight into which author is responsible for which contributions, better assurance that the list is complete, and clearly articulated standards to justify earning authorsh...
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Background: Recent outbreaks of Zika virus around the world led to increased discussions about this issue on social media platforms such as Twitter. These discussions may provide useful information about attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors of the population regarding issues that are important for public policy. Objective: We sought to identify t...
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Background: Recent content analyses of YouTube postings reveal a proliferation of user generated videos with misleading statements about the health consequences of various types of nontraditional tobacco use (eg, electronic cigarettes; e-cigarettes). Objective: This research was aimed at obtaining evidence about the potential effects of YouTube...
Article
Previous research suggests that when individuals encounter new information, they interpret it through perceptual ‘filters’ of prior beliefs, relevant social identities, and messenger credibility. In short, evaluations are not based solely on message accuracy, but also on the extent to which the message and messenger are amenable to the values of on...
Article
How can public support for science be encouraged? In early August 2016, a Zika vaccine entered its first human trial. Extensive media coverage followed. Using repeated cross-sectional surveys, we observed that, following this media coverage, survey respondents reported greater attention to Zika news and an increased trust in science as providing so...
Chapter
Two recent changes in the political arena should prompt a rethinking of our theories and definitions of political communication: the emergence of trans-national and non-national actors on the international political stage and the enhanced ability of individuals to convey messages to large scale audiences. For example, the entity called IS, ISIL or...
Chapter
This chapter offers three sets of definitions of “political communication”: those from early scholarly works, those from the major communication and political science associations, and a set of definitions that emerged at an Annenberg Public Policy Center conference attended by many scholars contributing to this handbook. The authors discuss the in...
Chapter
After exploring the challenges involved in defining incivility, this chapter addresses the evolution of the concept, notes the dispute over trend lines, and précises work on its psychological effects. It then outlines some functions that civility and incivility serve, such as the functions of differentiating and mobilizing, marginalizing the powerl...
Article
This experiment explores the role of information format (print vs. video) and tone (humorous–nonhumorous) in shaping message interest and belief correction in the context of political fact-checking (N = 525). To understand the mechanisms by which audience misperceptions may be reduced, this experiment tests the belief-correcting effectiveness of a...
Preprint
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In keeping with the growing movement in scientific publishing toward transparency in data and methods, we argue that the names of authors accompanying journal articles should provide insight into who is responsible for which contributions, a process should exist to confirm that the list is complete, clearly articulated standards should establish wh...
Article
For those at risk for Zika virus infection, prevention requires an approach that includes individual, interpersonal, and community‐level support for behavior change. In August 2016, the announcement of local Zika transmission in Florida provided an opportunity to determine whether Zika‐related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors might be affected d...
Article
Over four decades of research show that presidential debates make it possible for viewers to learn about the issues and form opinions about the character of the candidates running for office, but whether this long-lived finding would hold true in 2016 was open to doubt. In this article, we draw on panel survey data gathered from viewers of the firs...
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The role of language in expressing the life sciences in a polarized age - Volume 36 Issue 1 - Kathleen Hall Jamieson
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YouTube, a popular online site for user-generated content, is emerging as a powerful source of peer modeling of smoking. Previous research suggests that in counteracting such influence, health messages may inadvertently increase the perceived prevalence of drug use (a descriptive norm) without reducing its acceptability (injunctive norm). This rese...
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This article describes evidence suggesting that science curiosity counteracts politically biased information processing. This finding is in tension with two bodies of research. The first casts doubt on the existence of “curiosity” as a measurable disposition. The other suggests that individual differences in cognition related to science comprehensi...
Chapter
The introductory chapter defines a science of science communication, examines efforts to advance scholarship in this area, provides an overview of the contents within the six parts of the handbook, and indicates ways in which communication about the Zika virus relates to each of those parts and to chapters within them.
Chapter
How we can best communicate about science within ever- shifting political, scientific and political landscapes is an empirical question. And how we can best involve the public and stakeholders in deliberation about complex and ethically fraught science is an open one that science communication is only beginning to answer. The importance of finding...
Article
After exploring the challenges involved in defining incivility, this chapter addresses the evolution of the concept, notes the dispute over trend lines, and précises work on its psychological effects. It then outlines some functions that civility and incivility serve, such as the functions of differentiating and mobilizing, marginalizing the powerl...
Chapter
This chapter notes the important ways in which time series data are used in science, explains how trend lines are created and reported, chronicles ways in which they can be misused, documents human biases that lead to overvaluing endpoints in a trend, and outlines ways to minimize that bias. Specifically, this chapter defines trend lines and time s...
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This chapter argues that the public’s understanding of the US presidency is shaped in part by the rhetorical genres that have been conventionalized by this institution, including the inaugural address, the State of the Union address, veto messages, the de facto line item veto, pardon messages, impeachment rhetoric, war rhetoric, rhetoric responding...
Chapter
After showing that the frame “science is broken” is beginning to appear in mainstream media, this chapter examines the ways in which retractions and problems in peer review are characterized, both in media and by partisans, as confirmation that the scientific enterprise is untrustworthy. Media coverage of two widely reported retractions is examined...
Book
The cross-disciplinary Oxford Handbook on the Science of Science Communication contains 47 essays by 57 leading scholars organized into six sections: The first section establishes the need for a science of science communication, provides an overview of the area, examines sources of science knowledge and the ways in which changing media structures a...
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This paper examines a remedy for a defect in existing accounts of public risk perceptions. The accounts in question feature two dynamics: the affect heuristic, which emphasizes the impact of visceral feelings on information processing; and the cultural cognition thesis, which describes the tendency of individuals to form beliefs that reflect and re...
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In an encyclical released in June of 2015, Pope Francis cast the need to address climate change as a moral imperative. Using nationally-representative surveys with supplemental samples of Catholics, we investigate changes in the U.S. public’s post-encyclical attitudes about climate change and the Catholic pontiff. People who were aware of the encyc...
Article
Unusually cold winters, a slowing in upward global temperatures, or an increase in Arctic sea ice extent are often falsely cast as here-and-now disconfirmation of the scientific consensus on climate change. Such conclusions are examples of “end point bias,” the well documented psychological tendency to interpret a recent short-term fluctuation as a...
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In this article we examine in real time the political selective exposure process involved when the public confronted the “walrus haul out” of October 2014, a news event attributed by some climate change researchers to the effects of the climate change-driven reduction of Arctic sea ice. Analyzing data assessing the amount of major TV and cable news...
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What do citizens want from their members of Congress? Do they expect them to be constituent servants? Do they expect them to work on local problems? Or do they expect them to represent them on the national issues of the day? While citizens expect members of Congress to perform all of these roles, we argue that, in the contemporary political environ...
Article
This study examines the influence of debate viewing-social media multitasking on campaign knowledge during the 2012 presidential election. Results from three waves of a national cross-sectional survey of U.S. adults conducted during and after the 2012 presidential election suggest that social networking site (SNS) use overall correlates with increa...
Chapter
This study tests whether exposure to The Colbert Report influenced knowledge of super PACs and 501(c)(4) groups, and ascertains how having such knowledge influenced viewers' perceptions about the role of money in politics. Our analysis of a national random sample of adults interviewed after the 2012 presidential election found that viewing The Colb...