Dr. Michael Cacciatore

Co-Director, Center for Health & Risk Communication; Associate Professor, Public Relations

About: Dr. Cacciatore teaches research methodology and introduction to public relations in the Department of Advertising & Public Relations. His research focuses on science and risk communication with an emphasis on media coverage of and opinion formation for such topics.

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Education

Ph.D., Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.S., Life Sciences Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A., English, University of Manitoba

Research Interests and Activities

Dr. Cacciatore’s research has examined the communication of science and risk topics ranging from nanotechnology to food safety to global climate change. A significant portion of this research has tracked media depictions of science and risk issues, paying particular attention to the role of social media in the communication process. His other research has focused most directly on the interplay between media, values and risk in public opinion formation. Dr. Cacciatore’s work has been published in Public Understanding of Science, Science Communication, Risk Analysis, New Media & Society, and Health Affairs among others.

Proposal Title: “Improving Infectious Disease Models with Longitudinal Surveys of Health Decision Making Preferences and Influences.” Glen Nowak and Michael Cacciatore

Abstract: The objective of this project is to create more reliable infectious disease models that are informed by social science regarding health-related preferences, perceptions and intentions/behaviors. This project will design […]

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Measuring the value of public relations: An international investigation at how communication practitioners view the challenges and suggest solutions Michael Cacciatore and Juan Meng

Abstract: This research is motivated to advance our understanding of measurement challenges in communication practice and coping strategies from a global perspective. To do so, we relied on data from a […]

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COVID-19 Vaccination and Public Health Communication Strategies: An In-depth Look at How Demographics, Political Ideology, and News/Information Source Preference Matter Michael Cacciatore and Glen Nowak

Abstract: Widely accepted public health actions and recommendations, particularly those related to vaccines, are critical to U.S. and global responses to infectious disease pandemics, such as COVID-19. Drawing from nationally […]

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Leveraging the cybersecurity function to build influence and strategy: An empirical study of public relations professionals’ cybersecurity acumen Michael Cacciatore, Juan Meng & Bryan H. Reber

Abstract: This study investigated PR professionals’ attention to and perceptions of cybersecurity, and their involvement in handling cybersecurity incidents. Preliminary findings include that practitioners in the US and Canada did […]

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Are you JOKING??? Humor in science communication research and practice Michael Cacciatore

Abstract: Scientists have long incorporated humor into their communication, whether it be in informal presentations or peer-reviewed journal articles. Though it seems evident that humor could make stodgy scientific writing […]

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Following science on social media: The effects of humor and source likability Michael Cacciatore

Abstract: Science communicators have been encouraged to use humor in their online engagement efforts. Yet, humor’s effectiveness for engaging people with science remains an open question. We report the results […]

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Misinformation and public opinion of science and health: Approaches, findings, and future directions Michael Cacciatore

Abstract: A summary of the public opinion research on misinformation in the realm of science/health reveals inconsistencies in how the term has been defined and operationalized. A diverse set of […]

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Measuring the value of public relations: An international investigation of how communication practitioners view the challenge and solutions Michael Cacciatore and Juan Meng

Abstract: This research is motivated to advance our understanding of measurement challenges in communication practice and coping strategies from a global perspective. To do so, we relied on data from […]

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Generating science buzz: An examination of multidimensional engagement with humorous scientific messages on Twitter and Instagram Michael Cacciatore

Abstract:  This study investigates the types of humor embedded in funny scientific posts on social media and their effects on engagement. We mapped the landscape of such posts on Twitter […]

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The Landscape of Misinformation about Science … Revisited Michael Cacciatore

Invited panelist at the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee for Addressing Inaccurate and Misleading Information about Biological Threats through Scientific Collaboration and Communication, online. Dr. Cacciatore served […]

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Measuring the value of public relations: An international investigation at how communication practitioners view the challenges and suggest solutions Michael Cacciatore and Juan Meng

Abstract This research is motivated to advance our understanding of measurement challenges in communication practice and coping strategies from a global perspective. To do so, we relied on data from […]

Read More
Engaging Multicultural Audiences through Inclusive STEM Content on YouTube Carolina Acosta-Alzuru and Michael Cacciatore

PIs: Adam Dylewski (PBS Digital Studios; Project PI); Sara K. Yeo (University of Utah; Co-PI); Michael A. Cacciatore (University of Georgia; Co-PI) Funding Source: National Science Foundation (#DRL-2120006) Total Amount: […]

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UGA Transdisplinary Earth System Science for Global Solutions and Public Engagement (ENGAGE) Michael Cacciatore and Glen Nowak

Michael Cacciatore and Glen Nowak are part of a $2,974,744 five-year University of Georgia proposal submitted to the National Science Foundation to create a UGA Transdisplinary Earth System Science for […]

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Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Response (CIERR) Michael Cacciatore, Glen Nowak, Glenna Read, Bartosz Wojdynski & Itai Himelboim

Glen Nowak, Michael Cacciatore, Bart Wojdynski, Glenna Read, and Itai Himelboim are part of a University of Georgia proposal submitted in response to a National Institutes of Health call for […]

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The science of #scicomm: On emotion and humor. Michael Cacciatore

Abstract: Emotional appeals are encouraged when engaging with public audiences. Yet, we lack evidence of the effectiveness of using such appeals in science communication. Here we present current research on […]

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The effect of science comedy on perceptions of scientists and scientific messages. Michael Cacciatore

Abstract: Humor is an important conduit for public engagement with science that is often recommended for scientists looking to conduct communication activities despite relatively little empirical evidence demonstrating its effectiveness. […]

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Laughing with science: The influence of audience approval on engagement. Michael Cacciatore

Abstract: While there is mounting evidence that humor can be an effective means of engaging publics, much remains to be learned about the contextual factors that shape how audiences receive […]

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How attributes of humorous scientific messages predict engagement on Twitter and Instagram Michael Cacciatore

Abstract: The use of humor is increasingly advocated as a means of enhancing the effectiveness and visibility of science messages on social media. However, the influence of humorous scientific content […]

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Understanding flu vaccination attitudes and behaviors: Exploring a measure of health decision-making preferences. Michael Cacciatore and Glen Nowak

Abstract: Annual influenza vaccination has been recommended for all adults in the United States since 2010, but coverage estimates indicate that less than half of American adults complied during the […]

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Laughing with Science: The influence of audience approval on engagement Michael Cacciatore

Abstract: While there is mounting evidence that humor can be an effective means of engaging publics, much remains to be learned about the contextual factors that shape how audiences receive […]

Read More
Misinformation and public opinion of science and health: Approaches, findings, and future directions. Michael Cacciatore

Abstract: This work summarizes the misinformation literature in the context of science and health. The public opinion work in this space reveals inconsistencies in how the term has been defined […]

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The landscape of mis(dis)information about science. Michael Cacciatore

Abstract: This presentation is a broad overview of the issue of misinformation as it relates to public understanding of science and the communication of scientific information with public audiences. The […]

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Dissecting the Root of Vaccine Misinformation on Pinterest: A Content Analysis of Vaccine-Related Pins by Influential Social Media Accounts Michael Cacciatore and Yan Jin

Abstract: Given the role the Internet plays in communicating anti-vaccine sentiments, coupled with limited research in this area, this study focused on the social media platform Pinterest, analyzing 1,119 vaccine-related […]

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Media Science and Practice Michael Cacciatore and Glen Nowak

Abstract: Given their influence and visibility, understanding how news media cover topics involving medicines and how they provide information to their target audiences is essential when it comes to medicinal […]

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Otherization of Africa: How American media framed people with HIV/AIDS in Africa from 1987 to 2017. Michael Cacciatore and Ivanka Pjesivac

Abstract: This study examined otherization framing of people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa in American print news from 1987-2007. The results of a content analysis of a representative sample of […]

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The 2014-15 U.S. measles outbreak and parents’ vaccination beliefs, confidence, and intentions Michael Cacciatore, Glen Nowak & Nathaniel J. Evans

Abstract: While it seems intuitive that highly visible vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks should impact perceptions of disease risk and facilitate vaccination, few empirical studies exist to confirm or dispel these beliefs. […]

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Inadequate and incomplete: Chinese newspapers’ coverage of the first licensed human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in China Michael Cacciatore and Glen Nowak

Abstract: Glaxo Smith Kline’s Cervarix was the first human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine licensed for use in China in July 2016 and officially launched there on July 31, 2017. Since news […]

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Is Facebook making us dumber? Exploring social media use as a predictor of political knowledge Michael Cacciatore

Abstract: With social networking site (SNS) use now ubiquitous in American culture, researchers have started paying attention to its effects in a variety of domains. This study explores the relationships […]

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Teaching Specialties

Dr. Cacciatore has taught courses in research methodology, data analysis, risk communication, and social marketing, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Experience

Dr. Cacciatore has extensive research experience, including work on several large-scale, National Science Foundation-funded research grants. He has presented research findings at major communication conferences, and has published reports for groups like the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Most recently, Dr. Cacciatore co-wrote a funded grant that will investigate humor effects in the context of science communication.

Cacciatore, Michael
In the News

Michael Cacciatore awarded $2.5 million grant for research

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Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching: Michael Cacciatore

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Public skepticism would likely greet a new Zika vaccine, study says

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New survey shows only half of people plan to get flu shots this year

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