The impact of information sources on COVID-19 knowledge accumulation and vaccination intention

Madalina Vlasceanu, Alin Coman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

During a global health crisis, people are exposed to vast amounts of information from a variety of sources. Here, we assessed which information source could increase knowledge about COVID-19 (Study 1) and COVID-19 vaccines (Study 2). In Study 1, a US census matched sample of 1060 participants rated the accuracy of a set of statements and then were randomly assigned to one of 10 between-subjects conditions of varying sources providing belief-relevant information: a political leader (Trump/Biden), a health authority (Fauci/CDC), an anecdote (Democrat/Republican), a large group of prior participants (Democrats/Republicans/Generic), or no source (Control). Finally, they rated the accuracy of the initial set of statements again. Study 2 involved a replication with a sample of 1876 participants and focused on the COVID-19 vaccine. We found that knowledge increased most when the source of information was a generic group of people, irrespective of participants’ political affiliation. We also found that while expert communications were most successful at increasing Democrats’ vaccination intentions, no source was successful at increasing Republicans’ vaccination intention. We discuss these findings in the context of the current misinformation epidemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Data Science and Analytics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics

Keywords

  • Belief change
  • COVID-19
  • Source credibility
  • Vaccination intention

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