Publications · July 27, 2021

Precision Medicine Uncertainty

Precision medicine research relies on public volunteers to provide genetic and other personal data for research. We examined how people respond to uncertainty about scientific benefit and data use.

In a message experiment, my colleagues and I tested 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. It’s currently open access at the journal as part of their editor’s choice collection. I’ve also posted a preprint here.

Excitingly, our paper was highlighted in an editorial in the same issue!