Ivanka Pjesivac, S. Eldredge, E. Dalton, and L. Miller. (May 2022). “Between the facts and the hard place: Trust judgments and affective responses in information-seeking processes during early COVID-19.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association (ICA). Paris, France.
Abstract: This study examined the formation of trust judgments of information sources about COVID-19 and the role played by emotions in this information seeking process. Twenty-seven in-depth interviews with Americans revealed that the participants used both peripheral and central routes of information processing. Important peripheral credibility cues were: source credibility (source expertise, compassion, proximity, and tone of delivery) and message design cues were: concise and ordered presentation of information and scannability of presented information. A more in-depth information processing included comparing multiple sources of information about COVID-19 and distinguishing facts from opinion while looking for bias. These processes were accompanied by mainly negative emotions, such as frustration, anger, stress, anxiety, and resignation, and one positive emotion: hope. The results are interpreted in light of Risk Information Seeking and Processing (RISP) model and Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) of information processing.