Validating conspiracy beliefs and effectively communicating scientific consensus

Toby Bolsen, James N. Druckman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A central challenge to effectively communicating scientific consensus is that people often reject information counter to their prior beliefs. People who believe that human-induced climate change is a hoax, for instance, may dismiss scientific consensus messages that human activity is a primary cause of climate change. We argue that such people can be persuaded, however. We hypothesize that validating an individual’s belief about the existence of conspiracies makes him or her more likely to accept contrary scientific consensus information. We present experimental evidence that such validation leads individuals who previously believed human-induced climate change is a hoax to become more believing in human-induced climate change following exposure to scientific consensus information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-458
Number of pages6
JournalWeather, Climate, and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science


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