Communicating Uncertain Science to the Public: How Amount and Source of Uncertainty Impact Fatalism, Backlash, and Overload

Jakob D. Jensen*, Manusheela Pokharel, Courtney L. Scherr, Andy J. King, Natasha Brown, Christina Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Public dissemination of scientific research often focuses on the finding (e.g., nanobombs kill lung cancer) rather than the uncertainty/limitations (e.g., in mice). Adults (n = 880) participated in an experiment where they read a manipulated news report about cancer research (a) that contained either low or high uncertainty (b) that was attributed to the scientists responsible for the research (disclosure condition) or an unaffiliated scientist (dueling condition). Compared to the dueling condition, the disclosure condition triggered less prevention-focused cancer fatalism and nutritional backlash.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-51
Number of pages12
JournalRisk Analysis
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • cancer information overload
  • fatalism
  • nutritional backlash
  • uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)

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