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Department of Communication and Media Research Science Communication

Public Understanding of Science: Science-related populism declining during the COVID-19 pandemic

In many countries, the COVID-19 pandemic led to increased public support for societal institutions including science, a phenomenon described as “rally-round-the-flag” dynamic. However, it is unclear if this dynamic has also reduced public resentment toward science such as science-related populist attitudes, that is, the preference of people’s common sense over allegedly elitist scientific knowledge. IKMZ scholars Niels Mede and Mike S. Schäfer test this in a recent study by relying on individual-level data from panel surveys before and during the pandemic in Switzerland. Results show that science-related populist attitudes decreased after the pandemic started. 

Mede, N. G., & Schäfer, M. S. (2021). Science-related populism declining during the COVID-19 pandemic: A panel survey of the Swiss population before and after the Coronavirus outbreak. Public Understanding of Science. Advance online publication.