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Combating COVID-19 Misinformation: Brief Infographic Exposure May Increase Trust in Science

A part of the intervention infographic.

The work has the potential to strengthen efforts against misinformation about the coronavirus, a major concern of health experts across the globe.

Credit: Amanda Goehlert, Indiana University

Brief exposure to an infographic about the scientific process could strengthen people's trust in science and mitigate COVID-19 misinformation, according to Indiana University (IU) and Weill Cornell Medicine researchers.

The team recruited 1,017 adults and randomly assigned them to view either an intervention infographic or a control infographic, both produced by the same graphic designer.

The researchers quantified trust using a 21-item instrument that queried participants about their agreement with statements, like "when scientists change their mind about a scientific idea, it diminishes my trust in their work."

Results suggested at least 60 seconds of infographic exposure about how scientific recommendations change in response to evidence stimulated a modest increase in a person's trust in science.

IU's Jon Agley said, "Our approach, if replicable, would potentially avoid [issues of scale and ambiguity] by focusing more generally on trust and the scientific enterprise."

From IU Bloomington Newsroom
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