Effects of infographics in science communication : learning preferences and prior knowledge as moderators
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Infographics have emerged as a popular means of conveying information in a variety of fields. In particular, infographics are considered as useful means of delivering scientific knowledge, because infographics can help general audiences to understand technical jargons and context than traditional text-only news. However, little research is done to examine how infographics improve or undermine the processing of information with greater complexity. This study uses Genetically Modified (GM) products and bioengineering as an example of a science communication topic. Then, the study investigates how use of infographics would influence the cognitive and behavioral processing during science news through an online 2 (message type: infographics vs. text-based) X 2 (learning preference: visual vs. verbal) X 2 (prior knowledge: low vs. high) mixed design experiment. The results showed that use of infographics is effective in audience's memory retrieval process, however, different from the predictions, learning preferences and prior knowledge were not found to be significant moderating variables in predicting how message presentation types influence a series of outcome variables. Importantly, additional analyses resulted in significant message presentation types X prior attitude towards GM products X prior knowledge 3-way interaction on risk perception, attitude, and purchase intention toward GM products. Theoretical contributions and practical implications are discussed based on the findings from the study.
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