Recent LSC alumna Ashley A. Anderson (PhD, ’12), now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, leads a paper published in the new book Citizen voices: Performing public participation in science and environment communication, from the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA).
Citizen Voices is edited by Louise Phillips, Anabela Carvalho, and Julie Doyle. The chapter, “Online talk: How exposure to disagreement in online comments affects beliefs in the promise of controversial science,” is co-authored by LSC Professors Dominique Brossard and Dietram A. Scheufele, John E. Ross Chaired Professor of Science Communication, along with Communication Arts Associate Professor Michael A. Xenos.
In this chapter, Anderson and her colleagues examine how the unique structure of communication on the Internet, where user-generated discussions appear alongside traditional news media stories, affects people’s beliefs about controversial scientific issues. They find that viewing disagreement among blog commenters can decrease people’s beliefs in the promise of controversial science. Further analysis shows that this effect is only true for those who do not regularly engage in online activities, such as comment reading and comment posting. This suggests that people who are regularly exposed to online discussions, but not participants in them, still take those comments into account when forming opinions in settings of online media.
This material is based upon work supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation to the UW-Madison Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center in Templated Synthesis and Assembly at the Nanoscale (Grant No. SES-DMR-0832760). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
The book is available from Intellect Ltd. Find out more here.