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Title:Social Epistemology and Cognitive Authority in Online Comments about Vaccine Safety
Author(s):Doty, Colin
Subject(s):communication studies
human information behavior
human-computer interaction
Abstract:An attempt to understand misinformation, and particularly the role the internet might play in it, suggests an emphasis on how individual internet users decide what to believe. Given the social nature of the internet, an essential component of belief formation must be an evaluation of cognitive authority and the means by which any knowledge source claims to have it. A content analysis of user comments about vaccine safety reveals the evaluation of cognitive authority to be a rich and complex set of negotiations among internet users. Certain characteristics of the internet seem to enhance the experience of evidence evaluation in ways that complicate underlying assumptions about how people believe. While the internet would seem to be a collection of secondhand knowledge, it is also rife with exaltation of firsthand knowledge as a superior, and uniquely accessible, means of knowing.
Issue Date:2015-03-15
Series/Report:iConference 2015 Proceedings
Genre:Conference Paper/Presentation
Peer Reviewed:yes
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 is held by the authors. Copyright permissions, when appropriate, must be obtained directly from the authors.
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-03-24

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