Follow the scientists? How beliefs about the practice of science shaped COVID-19 views

Academic Article


  • “Follow the science” became the mantra for responding to COVID-19 pandemic. However, for the public this also meant “follow the scientists”, and this led to uneasiness as some viewed scientists as not credible. We investigate how beliefs about the way scientists develop their findings affect pandemic-related views. Our analysis shows that beliefs about scientists' objectivity predict views regrading coronavirus-related risks, behavioral changes, and policy priorities. While political party identity also predicts views about COVID-19-related concerns, these vary by political leaders whose approaches embraced versus dismissed science-based strategies, highlighting the importance of perceptions of scientists in shaping pandemic-related attitudes and beliefs.
  • Authors

  • Safford, Thomas
  • Whitmore, Emily H
  • Hamilton, Lawrence C
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • 2021
  • Published In


  • Public understanding of science and technology
  • Risk communication
  • Science and policy-making
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • A03
  • End Page

  • A03
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • 7