Closing the “consensus gap” by communicating the scientific consensus on climate change and countering misinformation

John Cook

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

There is a consensus among climate scientists that humans are causing global warming. However, the general public think there is significant scientific disagreement about human-caused global warming. One contributor to this misconception is misinformation designed to manufacture doubt about climate science. This thesis experimentally tests the effect of consensus information and conversely, the influence of misinformation designed to cast doubt on the consensus. I found that overall, consensus information is effective in increasing acceptance of AGW. I also found that an effective approach to neutralising the influence of misinformation is inoculation against misinformation techniques. I outline the potential of agnotology-based learning, which teaches scientific concepts through the refutation of misconceptions. Several methods of applying agnotology-based learning include Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and developing educational resources structured to facilitate this teaching approach.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Western Australia
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Ecker, Ullrich, Supervisor
  • Lewandowsky, Stephan, Supervisor
Award date23 Aug 2016
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016

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