Knowledge X Identity: The Confluence of knowledge and identity with Asheley Landrum, PhD
From Michelle Ensminger
A common assumption of scientific experts and public health officials is that more effective explanations will help increase public acceptance of science-backed information. This “deficit model of communication”—that people would agree with scientific consensus if they simply understood the facts—has been debunked by both research and practice. While facts matter, they do not exist in a vacuum. People reason about information through filters composed of their prior knowledge and cultural values. In doing so, they engage in motivated reasoning, sometimes rejecting evidence and arguments that conflict with their existing worldviews. Thus, certain audiences may understand but still reject scientific consensus when it clashes with their own views.