Why do people hold false or unsupported beliefs about vaccines and why are those beliefs so difficult to change? This lecture will describe how motivated reasoning can make people vulnerable to misinformation about controversial topics in medicine like vaccines. For instance, the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine has attracted extensive attention in recent years owing in large part to discredited claims about its safety that circulate widely among anti-vaccination activists and Web sites, including the false claim that it causes autism. This sort of misinformation may contribute to hesitancy about immunization in the U.S. and other countries. For these vulnerable populations, providing facts is frequently an ineffective approach to countering misperceptions about vaccines and in some cases can make the problem worse. Evidence will be presented from nationally representative survey experiments testing corrective information about the MMR and flu vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Countering Myths About Vaccines: Are Facts the Answer?” Thursday, Sept. 17 1:10-2 p.m. (Cookie/coffee reception from 12:40-1:10 p.m.) 210 Hamilton Hall, Iowa State University More information.