The 'Gateway Belief' Illusion: Reanalyzing the Results of a Scientific-consensus Messaging Study
Journal of Science Communication, Forthcoming
29 Pages Posted: 27 May 2016 Last revised: 1 Aug 2017
Date Written: May 13, 2016
This paper analyzes data collected but not reported in the study featured in van der Linden, Leiserowitz, Feinberg, and Maibach . VLFM report finding that a “scientific consensus” message “increased” experiment subjects’ “key beliefs about climate change” and “in turn” their “support for public action” to mitigate it. However, VLFM fail to report that message-exposed subjects’ “beliefs about climate change” and “support for public action” did not vary significantly, in statistical or practical terms, from those of a message-unexposed control group. The paper also shows how this absence of an experimental effect was obscured by a misspecified structural equation model.
Keywords: Science Communication, Consensus Messaging, Incomplete Data Reporting
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