Position title: Assistant Professor
320 Hiram Smith Hall
Virtual Office Hours: M 3:00-5:00 pm; or by appointment.
Sedona Chinn is an assistant professor in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Chinn’s research investigates the prevalence and effects of scientific disagreements in media to better understand when and why people question science. She pairs large-scale content analyses with experimental work to explore what science messages people see in the news and social media and how these messages affect attitudes. Her work on uncertainty and scientific disagreement intersects with questions about misinformation, trust in experts, selective exposure, and politicization.
In her content analytic work, Chinn uses innovative computer-assisted techniques to investigate politicization, polarization, and denial in science media. In a recent paper, she quantitatively demonstrated increasing politicization and polarization across 30 years of newspaper climate change coverage. Ongoing projects explore the prevalence of denial, politicization, and conflict in media about topics including climate change, invasive species, and COVID-19; as well as exploring how online platform differences affect the content and quality of science information.
This work informs Chinn’s research on message effects and science attitudes. She has investigated how people evaluate scientific disagreements and developed novel measurements to differentiate between science knowledge, ignorance, misinformation, and denial. Current work investigates the effects of disagreement, politicization, and incivility on individuals’ acceptance of and trust in science.
Chinn’s research has been published in peer-reviewed journals including Public Understanding of Science, Science Communication, and International Journal of Public Opinion Research.
She received her Ph.D. in Communication and Media from the University of Michigan.
You can find a list of her publications on Google Scholar.