My colleagues and I conducted an experiment testing public responses to the disclosure of uncertainty in a news story about precision medicine research. We examined the communication of uncertainty about both scientific utility and data governance.
Here’s a brief summary of what we found:
Conveying uncertainty of either type had no overall main effect on outcomes. Instead, those who reported perceiving greater uncertainty had lower attitudes, trust, and willingness to join, while those with more tolerance for uncertainty, support for science, and scientific understanding responded favorably to the scientific uncertainty disclosure.
The article was recently published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine. I’ve posted a preprint here.
Excitingly, our study was highlighted in an editorial in the same issue about the importance of examining uncertainty communication in this domain!