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

Romano, Alessandro, Sotis, Chiara, Dominioni, Goran and Guidi, Sebastián (2020) The public do not understand logarithmic graphs used to portray COVID-19. Impact of Social Sciences Blog (29 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 Authors
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2020 10:39
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2020 23:29

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