communications_science   44

Weather impacts expressed sentiment
Baylis et al 2018: Abstract

We conduct the largest ever investigation into the relationship between meteorological conditions and the sentiment of human expressions. To do this, we employ over three and a half billion social media posts from tens of millions of individuals from both Facebook and Twitter between 2009 and 2016. We find that cold temperatures, hot temperatures, precipitation, narrower daily temperature ranges, humidity, and cloud cover are all associated with worsened expressions of sentiment, even when excluding weather-related posts. We compare the magnitude of our estimates with the effect sizes associated with notable historical events occurring within our data.
climatecomms  communications_science  audience_research 
march 2019 by huntercutting
Rapidly declining remarkability of temperature anomalies may obscure public perception of climate change | PNAS
Climate change exposes people to conditions that are historically unusual but that will become increasingly common over time. What kind of weather do people think of as normal or unusual under these changing conditions? We use the volume of social media posts about weather to measure the remarkability of different temperatures and show that remarkability changes rapidly with repeated exposure to unusual temperatures. The reference point for normal conditions appears to be based on weather experienced between 2 and 8 y ago. This rapidly shifting normal baseline means warming noticed by the general public may not be clearly distinguishable from zero over the 21st century, with potential implications for both the acceptance of global warming and public pressure for mitigation policies.
climatecomms  Climate_Science_study  communications_science 
february 2019 by huntercutting
Who Isn’t Biased? Perceived Bias as a Dimension of Credibility in Communication of Science with Policymakers
Akerlof et al 2018: "Few respondents report trying to directly assess the methods by which the scientific information was obtained. Most look to someone for advice, try to judge the credibility of the source, or place the information into wider context… Staff members do not necessarily see bias—once assessed and understood—as a necessary impediment to credibility.”


Description

Identifying the determinants of success in communicating scientific information for use in policymaking has been a topic of longstanding interest for many fields. Perceptions of message and messenger credibility are recognized in many disciplines as key to information receptivity, and subsequent changes in attitudes, by decision-makers. Bias also appears as a component of credibility, but is not theoretically well-defined, and its effects can appear inconsistent. This study—comprised of interviews with congressional staff members with energy, environment, and science portfolios (n=16)—finds that perceptions of bias and expertise play a critical role in the way in which policymakers evaluate scientific information sources, building on early research on credibility and opinion change.
science_communications  communications_science 
december 2018 by huntercutting
Scientific communication in a post-truth society | PNAS
Iyengar and Massey, PNAS, Nov, 2018. Within the scientific community, much attention has focused on improving communications between scientists, policy makers, and the public. To date, efforts have centered on improving the content, accessibility, and delivery of scientific communications. Here we argue that in the current political and media environment faulty communication is no longer the core of the problem. Distrust in the scientific enterprise and misperceptions of scientific knowledge increasingly stem less from problems of communication and more from the widespread dissemination of misleading and biased information. We describe the profound structural shifts in the media environment that have occurred in recent decades and their connection to public policy decisions and technological changes. We explain how these shifts have enabled unscrupulous actors with ulterior motives increasingly to circulate fake news, misinformation, and disinformation with the help of trolls, bots, and respondent-driven algorithms. We document the high degree of partisan animosity, implicit ideological bias, political polarization, and politically motivated reasoning that now prevail in the public sphere and offer an actual example of how clearly stated scientific conclusions can be systematically perverted in the media through an internet-based campaign of disinformation and misinformation. We suggest that, in addition to attending to the clarity of their communications, scientists must also develop online strategies to counteract campaigns of misinformation and disinformation that will inevitably follow the release of findings threatening to partisans on either end of the political spectrum.
communications_science  science_communications  Climate_Science_study  media_analysis 
december 2018 by huntercutting
It’s science, stupid: Why do Trump supporters believe so many things that are crazy and wrong? | Salon.com
There are a couple of reasons that people might embrace flatly false beliefs like the ones on display at this Trump rally, Kahan explained to me. One explanation is that they sincerely belief these false things.

There are a couple of reasons that people might embrace flatly false beliefs like the ones on display at this Trump rally, Kahan explained to me. One explanation is that they sincerely belief these false things.

"People have a stake in some position being true," Kahan said, "because the status of their group or their standing in it depends on that answer."

"But then there are other things that people will say because that’s kind of like a declaration of who they are," he added. "Part of the reason they might be doing it is because they know it’s really going to get an aversive response from people who have an alternative identity and who know that’s the true answer."

With birtherism, Kahan continued, there are people who actually believe that Obama is hiding the facts of his birth, but there also a lot of people who are saying that more because it's a "kind of a middle finger" and because it gives conservatives pleasure to drive liberals batty by saying these things.

As evidence, Kahan pointed to a paper by published in Public Opinion Quarterly in 2014 that found that minor changes in survey wording found very different rates of birtherism in the public.

With some questions, researchers hypothesized, "respondents might have viewed this question as constituting a quiz to assess whether they were well informed about political facts," leading Republicans to be more inclined to admit that Obama was born in the United States.

Other questions, however, might have been viewed "as offering them an opportunity to express anti-Obama sentiment by challenging the legitimacy of his presidency." In these cases, aligning one's self with birtherism was less about actually believing the president was born in Kenya, per se, and more about expressing one's racism and hostility towards liberals.

It's not exactly lying. It's more that the truth is secondary to the goals of expressing political views and antagonizing liberals by staking out these positions.

"People have a stake in some position being true," Kahan said, "because the status of their group or their standing in it depends on that answer."

"But then there are other things that people will say because that’s kind of like a declaration of who they are," he added. "Part of the reason they might be doing it is because they know it’s really going to get an aversive response from people who have an alternative identity and who know that’s the true answer."

With birtherism, Kahan continued, there are people who actually believe that Obama is hiding the facts of his birth, but there also a lot of people who are saying that more because it's a "kind of a middle finger" and because it gives conservatives pleasure to drive liberals batty by saying these things.

As evidence, Kahan pointed to a paper by published in Public Opinion Quarterly in 2014 that found that minor changes in survey wording found very different rates of birtherism in the public.

With some questions, researchers hypothesized, "respondents might have viewed this question as constituting a quiz to assess whether they were well informed about political facts," leading Republicans to be more inclined to admit that Obama was born in the United States.

Other questions, however, might have been viewed "as offering them an opportunity to express anti-Obama sentiment by challenging the legitimacy of his presidency." In these cases, aligning one's self with birtherism was less about actually believing the president was born in Kenya, per se, and more about expressing one's racism and hostility towards liberals.

It's not exactly lying. It's more that the truth is secondary to the goals of expressing political views and antagonizing liberals by staking out these positions.
communications_science 
november 2018 by huntercutting
Beyond Misinformation: Understanding and Coping with the “Post-Truth” Era - ScienceDirect
Lewandowski et al Dec 2017

General Audience Summary

Imagine a world that considers knowledge to be “elitist.” Imagine a world in which it is not medical knowledge but a free-for-all opinion market on Twitter that determines whether a newly emergent strain of avian flu is really contagious to humans. This dystopian future is still just that—a possible future. However, there are signs that public discourse is evolving in this direction: terms such as “post-truth” and “fake news,” largely unknown until 2016, have exploded into media and public discourse. This article explores the growing abundance of misinformation in the public sphere, how it influences people, and how to counter it. We show how misinformation can have an adverse impact on society, for example by predisposing parents to make disadvantageous medical decisions for their children. We argue that for countermeasures to be effective, they must be informed by the larger political, technological, and societal context. The post-truth world arguably emerged as a result of societal mega-trends, such as a decline in social capital, growing economic inequality, increased polarization, declining trust in science, and an increasingly fractionated media landscape. Considered against the background of those overarching trends, misinformation in the post-truth era can no longer be considered solely an isolated failure of individual cognition that can be corrected with appropriate communication tools. Rather, it should also consider the influence of alternative epistemologies that defy conventional standards of evidence. Responses to the post-truth era must therefore include technological solutions that incorporate psychological principles, an interdisciplinary approach that we describe as “technocognition.” Technocognition uses findings from cognitive science to inform the design of information architectures that encourage the dissemination of high-quality information and that discourage the spread of misinformation.
communications_science 
december 2017 by huntercutting
Is the climate consensus 97%, 99.9%, or is plate tectonics a hoax? | Dana Nuccitelli | Environment | The Guardian
97% of relevant peer-reviewed studies agree that humans are causing global warming, 99.9% of climate papers don’t reject that theory.
climatecomms  communications_science  Climate_Science_study 
may 2017 by huntercutting

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