Most German residents surveyed as part of a study published today in JAMA Network Open said they prefer COVID-19 public health messaging that acknowledges scientific uncertainty, suggesting that admitting to incomplete knowledge fosters public trust and motivates compliance. Published as a research letter by investigators from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, the study involved randomly sampling, from Jul 13 to 20, adult German residents who were part of an online research panel of more than 80,000 residents. Their aim was to test the validity of the assumption that communicating scientific uncertainty generates public mistrust and noncompliance in Germany, where coronavirus-related government and public health messages have sometimes not acknowledged their scientific limits.

 

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