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The Impact of Visualizing the Process of Disease Spread on Social Distancing Intentions and Attitudes
SessionC1 - Communications
DescriptionNovel diseases bring with them new fears, novel public health measures, and immense uncertainty. The uncertainty, coupled with distrust and politization of science, can lead to confusion about the importance of adopting interventions such as social distancing. We tested the impact of a well-designed visualization on attitudes towards and intentions to engage in social distancing. The visualization showed both the outcomes of social distancing and the process by which social distancing slowed the rate of disease transmission. We found that compared to visualizations that only showed the outcomes, process visualization increased the intention to engage in social distancing and the positive attitudes towards social distancing. The visualizations were also compelling as they were contained within the most-viewed on-line Washington Post article to date.