from the i'm-your-doctor-dammit dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "We all know that false or misleading science headlines are all too common these days and that misleading media combined with an apathetic and undereducated public lead to widespread ignorance. But the real question is, how can this trend be reversed? At a session at the recent AAAS meeting, a study was discussed indicating that what matters most is how the information is portrayed. While people are willing to defer to experts on matters of low concern, for things that affect them directly, such as breast cancer or childhood diseases, expertise only counts for as much as giving off a 'sense of honesty and openness,' and that it matters far less than creating a sense of empathy in deciding who people will listen to. In other words, it's not enough to merely report on it as an expert. You need to make sure your report exudes a sense of honesty, openness, empathy, and maybe even a hint of humor."