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Sunday, December 6, 2020

COVID Misinformation

 At Harvard Kennedy School's Misinformation Review, Adam M. Enders and colleagues have an article titled :"The Different Forms of COVID-19 Misinformation and Their Consequences."  The essay summary:

  • Efficiently addressing COVID-19 misinformation and conspiracy theories begins with an understanding of the prevalence of each of these dubious ideas, the individual predispositions that make them attractive to people, and their potential consequences.
  • Using a national survey of U.S. adults fielded June 4–17, 2020 (n = 1,040), we found that conspiracy theories, especially those promoted by visible partisan figures, exhibited higher levels of support than medical misinformation about the treatment and transmissibility of COVID-19. This suggests that potentially dangerous health misinformation is more difficult to believe than abstract ideas about the nefarious intentions of governmental and political actors.
  • Not everyone is equally susceptible to all forms of conspiracy theories and misinformation. Instead, people tend to believe in various classifications or “clusters” of dubious beliefs. Beliefs in partisan and non-partisan COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs and beliefs in health-related misinformation operate differently from one another. While some dubious beliefs find roots in liberal-conservative ideology... belief in health-related misinformation is more a product of distrust in scientists.
  • All classifications of dubious beliefs about COVID-19 are positively correlated, to varying degrees, with an optimistic view of health risks, engagement in leisure activities, and perceptions of government overreach in response to the pandemic, suggesting that the acceptance of dubious ideas may lead to risky behaviors.
  • The classifications of beliefs in COVID-19 conspiracy theories and misinformation are differentially related to intentions to vaccinate, levels of education, and attitudes about governmental enforcement of pandemic-related regulations. These findings can aid policymakers and science communicators in prioritizing their efforts at “pre-bunking” and debunking misinformation.