Frame with Care

Linking a public health threat like the Zika virus with “culturally charged issues such as illegal immigration and global warming” can jeopardize the public’s understanding of health dangers, warn Yale and University of Pennsylvania researchers in a Journal of Risk Research study.
 
In experiments involving 2,400 people, researchers tried out 3 versions of a Zika news story: one based purely on health information, one linking it to illegal immigration, and one connecting the virus to global warming.
 
From a political perspective, Zika had been a largely non-polarizing risk, but researchers found that Internet memes and stories tying Zika to culturally controversial issues triggered polarizing reactions in people, diminishing their ability to analyze the news.
 
Source: The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania

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