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Opinion: Can shocking images persuade doubters of COVID’s dangers?

Scientific American, Jan. 25, 2021 (Opinion)

January 25, 2021

Opinion: Can shocking images persuade doubters of COVID’s dangers?

Jared Celniker, UCI doctoral candidate in psychological science, Peter Ditto, UCI professor in psychological science and Nathan Ballantyne write, “In our study, not everyone agreed that COVID-19 is a legitimate threat, and the pictures didn’t shock unbelievers into thinking otherwise. Images can be effective reminders of persuasive arguments; but when using images to persuade, we may take for granted precisely what we’re trying to prove. … Troubling images may become tools for people to reach new beliefs. Yet we must all be mindful of how easily we misunderstand what’s evocative to others.”