Study finds surprising source of social influence

A new study co-authored by ASC’s Damon Centola finds that as prominent and revered as social influencers seem to be, they are unlikely to change a person’s behavior by example, and might actually be detrimental to the cause.

From Annenberg School for Communication

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Fast Company

Want to go viral? Influencers won’t be much help if you’re trying to spread a complex idea

Damon Centola of the Annenberg School for Communication spoke about findings from his recent study showing that social influencers may be ineffective when it comes to changing people’s beliefs and behaviors. Rather, he said, “every network has a hidden social cluster in the outer edges that is perfectly poised to increase the spread of a new idea by several hundred percent.”


The New York Times

Trust in health agencies and Fauci remains strong, a poll finds, but personal doctors score higher

A survey from the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that the vast majority of adults polled were confident in the trustworthiness of COVID-19 information from the CDC, the FDA, primary care providers, and Anthony Fauci.



Conservative media diets tied to distrust in health officials

Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center spoke about the politicization of public health information on COVID-19 in the U.S. "When you begin to reduce trust in experts and agencies telling you that vaccines are safe, you're creating all kinds of susceptibilities that can be exploited for partisan gain," she said.


The New York Times

Despite outbreaks among unvaccinated, Fox News hosts smear shots

Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center said amplifying vaccine skepticism on Fox News and other conservative media outlets could deepen reluctance among viewers. “If you have constant exposure to an outlet that is raising vaccination hesitancy, raising questions about vaccinations, that is something to anchor you in your position that says, ‘I’m not going to take the vaccine,’” she said.


The Washington Post

An anthology of great speeches, from the inspirational to the ominous

Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center said most modern speeches adhere to a conversational style, designed to feel informal while still being scripted.


Los Angeles Times

Why storytelling is an important tool for social change

Emily Falk of the Annenberg School for Communication explained the neuroscience behind how the brain processes and learns from stories. “Storytelling alone, of course, can’t produce structural changes in the justice system or create better policies aimed at health, the environment and other issues that affect our well-being,” she wrote. “But that said, changing systems large or small has to start with effective communication.”