Coalition for Trust in Health & Science

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The Effects of Communicating Uncertainty on Public Trust in Facts and Numbers

This peer-reviewed article investigates whether openly communicating scientific uncertainty undermines trust in facts or in communicators. Despite widespread concerns among scientisists, experts, and journalists, findings from this set of studies suggest that openly communicating uncertainty does not negatively impact public trust. This information is valuable for science communicators, as it indicates that being more transparent about scientific uncertainty may not necessarily erode trust in facts or in the people conveying them. In summary, this article emphasizes the importance of providing clear and accurate information to the public even when uncertainty is present.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
Anne Marthe van der Bles, Sander van der Linden, Alexandra Freeman, and David Spiegelhalter