Can I believe you? Perceptions of science communicators on Twitter when discussing politics



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Misinformation has become widespread across social media platforms like Twitter. This is due to the lack of fact checking on Twitter, poor media literacy, and lack of trust within the scientific community. Additionally, affective polarization has enhanced the distrust for science communicators from certain political parties by affecting perceptions of trustworthiness, competency and warmth. According to the Stereotype Content Model, warmth and competency are needed to gain trust. I hypothesize that science communicator political ideology will influence overall ratings, as well as the interaction of science communicator and participant political ideology. Several fictional Twitter profiles were created, belonging to one of five conditions: conservative, liberal, moderate, personal, and science. Results indicated perceptions of trustworthiness, competency, and warmth are affected by the political leaning of the science communicator. Participant political ideology also plays a role in forming impressions, with liberal participants rating conservative profiles as less trustworthy, and vice-versa.



Science communication, Misinformation, Affective polarization, Impression formation, Trustworthiness, Warmth, Competency