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The Best Paper You'll Read Today: Media Biases and the Public Understanding of Science

Mohseni, Aydin and O'Connor, Cailin and Weatherall, James Owen (2022) The Best Paper You'll Read Today: Media Biases and the Public Understanding of Science. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Scientific curation, where scientific evidence is selected and shared, is essential to public belief formation about science. Yet common curation practices can distort the body of evidence the public sees. Focusing on science journalism, we employ computational models to investigate how such distortions influence public belief. We consider these effects for agents with and without confirmation bias. We find that standard journalistic practices can lead to significant distortions in public belief; that pre-existing errors in public belief can drive further distortions in re-
porting; that practices that appear relatively unobjectionable can produce serious epistemic harm; and that, in some cases, common curation practices related to
fairness and extreme reporting can lead to polarization.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Mohseni, Aydinaydin.mohseni@gmail.com0000-0002-4054-0058
O'Connor, Cailincailino@uci.edu0000-0002-8351-2575
Weatherall, James Owenweatherj@uci.edu0000-0003-1461-7821
Keywords: journalism; social media; curation; public understanding of science
Subjects: General Issues > Rhetoric of Science
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Science Education
General Issues > Science and Policy
General Issues > Social Epistemology of Science
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: James Owen Weatherall
Date Deposited: 24 Dec 2022 16:04
Last Modified: 24 Dec 2022 16:04
Item ID: 21587
Subjects: General Issues > Rhetoric of Science
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Science Education
General Issues > Science and Policy
General Issues > Social Epistemology of Science
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21587

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