Publication details [#62966]

Cress, Ulrike, Joachim Kimmerle, Danny Flemming and Insa Feinkohl. 2017. User comments about research findings: How conflictual information in online science journalistic articles influences laypeople’s understanding of scientific tentativeness. Communications 42 (4).
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
De Gruyter


This inquiry explored whether conflictual information about novel medical findings in online newspaper articles influenced laypeople’s perception of tentativeness, their attitude toward, and fear of, the medical procedure in question. For this aim, the inquiry rated the user comments from all available online newspaper articles about Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). Multilevel regressions disclosed that higher levels of conflictual information in the articles were associated with higher levels of expressed tentativeness and a more negative attitude toward DBS expressed in the user comments. No significant relationship with expressed fear of DBS was found. It is concluded that journalistic preparation and style is directly associated with readers’ perception of tentativeness and opinion formation and suggestions for journalistic presentation of scientific information are debated.