Credible and Accurate Information Needed to Fight Vaccine Confusion

Article ID: 615469

Released: 21-Mar-2014 3:00 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: Cornell University

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Graham Dixon, communication Ph.D. student at Cornell University who studies science communication – specifically how news reporting of controversial science and health issues influence people’s beliefs and behavior – says the new University of Chicago study showing nearly half of Americans believe in medical conspiracy theories is alarming and suggests for developing tools to help people better evaluate conflicting health information.

Dixon says:

“While it is problematic that 20 percent of Americans believe vaccines cause autism, it is equally alarming that 36 percent are uncertain one way or the other.

“Inaccurate information, such as the claim that vaccines cause autism, is often found side-by-side with scientifically accurate information in online searches. This conflicting information can then heighten people’s uncertainty surrounding established scientific issues. The real challenge is developing tools to help people better evaluate the credibility and accuracy of conflicting online health information.”

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