Correcting misperceptions: The causal role of motivation in corrective science communication about vaccine and food safety


Some people stick to beliefs that do not align with scientific consensus when faced with science communication that contradicts those misperceptions. Two preregistered experiments (total N = 1,256) investigated the causal role of motivated reasoning in the effectiveness of correcting misperceptions. In both experiments, accuracy-driven reasoning led to a larger corrective effect of a science communication message than reasoning driven by directional motivation. Individuals' default reasoning made them just as receptive to the correction as accuracy-driven reasoning. This finding supports a more optimistic view of human receptivity to science communication than often found in the literature.

In Science Communication