Bolsen on his Recent Publication on COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories

Dr. Toby Bolsen, Associate Professor of Political Science, was interviewed on the role of COVID-19 conspiracy theories in influencing public health messaging and pandemic mitigation. Presented by Kat Pitts, the radio show is part of the “Navigating the Pandemic: Past, Present, and Future” series that explores the implications of the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Bolsen recently explored the topic at length in a co-authored academic paper entitled “Framing the Origins of COVID-19” published by the Science Communication Journal. The authors found that exposure to framed messages about the origins of COVID-19 can have a powerful impact on beliefs; in turn, these beliefs about the origin of the virus have powerful “downstream effects” on support for different policies in response to the crisis. Further, exposure to conspiracy rhetoric in isolation or in competition reduced willingness to engage in prosocial actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Click here to listen to the radio episode “COVID Conspiracy Theories and Scientific Misinformation,”

and here to read the academic paper “Framing the Origins of COVID-19”