The seductive allure of technical language and its effect on covid-19 vaccine beliefs and intentions

Silas, Jonathan ORCID logoORCID:, Jones, Alexander ORCID logoORCID:, Ayton, Peter and Weiss-Cohen, Leonardo (2021) The seductive allure of technical language and its effect on covid-19 vaccine beliefs and intentions. Vaccine, 39 (52) . pp. 7590-7597. ISSN 0264-410X [Article] (doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2021.11.027)

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Previous research has demonstrated a ‘seductive allure’ of technical or reductive language such that bad (e.g., circular) explanations are judged better when irrelevant technical terms are included. We aimed to explore if such an effect was observable in relation to a covid-19 vaccinations and if this subsequently affected behavioural intentions to take up a covid-19 vaccine. Using a between subjects design we presented participants (N=996) with one of four possible types of vignette that explained how covid-19 vaccination and herd immunity works. The explanations varied along two factors: (1) Quality, explanations were either good or bad (i.e., tautological); (2) Language, explanations either contained unnecessary technical language or did not. We measured participants’ evaluation of the explanations and intentions to vaccinate. We demonstrate a ‘seductive allure’ effect of technical language on bad vaccine explanations. However, an opposite ‘repellent disdain’ effect occurred for good explanations which were rated worse when they contained technical language. Moreover, we show that evaluations of explanations influence intentions to vaccinate. We suggest that misinformation that includes technical language could be more detrimental to vaccination rates. Importantly, however, clear explanatory public health information that omits technical language will be more effective in increasing intentions to vaccinate.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Vaccine hesitancy, COVID-19, Seductive allure, Vaccination intentions
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 34181
Notes on copyright: © 2021. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
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Depositing User: Alexander Jones
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2021 13:53
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 17:38

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