Disclose your flaws! Admission positively affects the perceived trustworthiness of an expert science blogger

Friederike Hendriks, Dorothe Kienhues, Rainer Bromme


Laypeople need to trust experts, because they lack sufficient background knowledge to handle scientific evidence. This study investigates if a science blogger’s expertise, integrity, and benevolence are affected by an admission of a study’s flaw in contrast to a critique by another scientist. Results (N = 90) showed that ascriptions of expertise were lower when a flaw was disclosed, no matter by whom. However, ascriptions of integrity and benevolence were higher when admitted vs. when introduced via critique. Hence, epistemic trustworthiness is inferred from objective data (a flaw was made), but also from communicative actions (admission of the flaw).



Epistemic trust; Trustworthiness; Credibility; Science blogs; Science communication


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Copyright (c) 2016 Swiss Association of Communication and Media Research and Università della Svizzera italiana. Published by Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896