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The public do not understand logarithmic graphs used to portray COVID-19

Romano, Alessandro, Sotis, Chiara ORCID: 0000-0001-9367-0932, Dominioni, Goran and Guidi, Sebastián (2020) The public do not understand logarithmic graphs used to portray COVID-19. LSE COVID-19 Blog (19 May 2020). Blog Entry.

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Mass media routinely portray information about COVID-19 deaths on logarithmic graphs. But do their readers understand them? Alessandro Romano, Chiara Sotis, Goran Dominioni, and Sebastián Guidi carried out an experiment which suggests that they don’t. What is perhaps more relevant: respondents looking at a linear scale graph have different attitudes and policy preferences towards the pandemic than those shown the same data on a logarithmic graph. Consequently, merely changing the scale on which the data is presented can alter public policy preferences and the level of worry, even at a time when people are routinely exposed to a lot of COVID-19 related information. Based on these findings, they call for the use of linear scale graphs by media and government agencies.

Item Type: Online resource (Blog Entry)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author(s)
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Date Deposited: 26 May 2020 14:09
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2021 23:02

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