Mainstream information is more trusted than alternative social media for accurate health information


In a study published in Health Communication, experts from the University of Michigan, National University of Singapore and Koc University in Turkey said the findings shed light on the conditions under which media use can help or hinder the tendency to believe health misinformation. “These results also show that the heavy reliance on social media and alternative health media for information largely exceeds individual differences in predicting belief in misinformation,” said Scott Campbell, Constance F. and Arnold Professor of Telecommunications. C. Pohs in the communication department of UM. and Media.

Campbell and her colleagues also investigated how different thinking styles can support and suppress links between media use and belief in health misinformation. “This emerging pattern underscores the possibility that institutional news sources may better protect themselves from the spread of misinformation than social media, perhaps due to differences in editorial control between news, social and alternative media.” , Campbell said.

More than 3,600 participants in Singapore, Turkey and the United States shared their beliefs about vaccines, genetically modified foods and alternative medicine. Sources of information involved mainstream (or “old”) media, social media, and alternative media, which advocate homeopathic remedies over conventional medicine. Co-authors of the study include Yuanyuan Wu and Ozan Kuru from National University and Lemi Baruh from Koc University.

According to the researchers, these personal styles interact with media use to predict whether people are likely to believe false information about health and healthcare. The results show that in addition to the use of social and alternative media for health information, those most likely also tend to place high trust in their own intuition when encountering new information (“faith in intuition”) and prefer to make sense of new information. information in an elaborate and structured way (“need cognition”).

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