The effects of self-disclosure and gender on a climate scientist’s credibility and likability on social media

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To examine whether different types of disclosure made by climate scientists on social media influence perceived source credibility (i.e. competence, integrity, benevolence) and likability, we conducted a 2 (self-disclosure type: personal vs political) × 3 (proportion of posts including a self-disclosure: 20% vs 50% vs 80%) × 2 (gender identity of scientist: male vs female) between-subjects experiment (N = 734). We found that people liked the scientist more for a personal than political disclosure, rated them as being more competent for a political disclosure, and liked a female scientist more than a male scientist. However, scientist’s gender did not moderate the effect of disclosure type or the effect of participants’ gender. Our results suggest distinct benefits when scientists deliver different types of messages on social media, although disclosure is unlikely to have substantial effects on lay judgments of scientists’ credibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPublic Understanding of Science
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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