Review: Communication of scientific uncertainty about a novel pandemic health threat: Ambiguity aversion and its mechanisms

Home/Review: Communication of scientific uncertainty about a novel pandemic health threat: Ambiguity aversion and its mechanisms

Review: Communication of scientific uncertainty about a novel pandemic health threat: Ambiguity aversion and its mechanisms

Review: Communication of scientific uncertainty about a novel pandemic health threat: Ambiguity aversion and its mechanisms

According to this research study, communicating scientific uncertainty about public health threats must be done cautiously.

The management of public health crises from viral pandemics and other novel threats presents a dilemma: open communication of scientific uncertainty is ethically desirable, but practically problematic in potentially perpetuating ambiguity-averse perceptions and behaviors that can undermine public health. In this study, uncertainty-normalizing communication strategies did not avert ambiguity in messages as expected and thus, there is still a need to determine the best way to convey scientific uncertainty to ensure thoughtful, deliberative decision making that avoids extremes of overconfidence and underconfidence.

|2020-04-29T09:00:26-04:00April 29th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|0 Comments

About the Author: Maria Brann

Maria Brann
Dr. Maria Brann, PhD, MPH, is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and affiliate faculty with the Injury Control Research Center at West Virginia University. She explores the integration of health, interpersonal, and gender communication. Her translational focus and mixed methods approach are woven throughout her health vulnerabilities research, which advocates for more effective communication to improve people’s health and safety. Her primary research interests focus on the study of women’s and ethical issues in health communication contexts and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve personal and public health and safety. She researches communication at both the micro and macro levels and studies how communication influences relationships among individuals and with the social world.

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