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  1. Who Doesn’t Trust Fauci? The Public’s Belief in the Expertise and Shared Values of Scientists in the COVID-19 Pandemic

    The primary tension in public discourse about the U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been President Trump’s disagreement with scientists. The authors analyze a national survey of 1,593 Americans to examine which social groups agree with scientists’ ability to understand the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and which agree that COVID-19 scientists share their values. Republicans and independents are less trusting than Democrats on both measures, as are African Americans.

  2. Pluralistic Collapse: The “Oil Spill” Model of Mass Opinion Polarization

    Despite widespread feeling that public opinion in the United States has become dramatically polarized along political lines, empirical support for such a pattern is surprisingly elusive. Reporting little evidence of mass polarization, previous studies assume polarization is evidenced via the amplification of existing political alignments. This article considers a different pathway: polarization occurring via social, cultural, and political alignments coming to encompass an increasingly diverse array of opinions and attitudes.

  3. Measuring Stability and Change in Personal Culture Using Panel Data

    Models of population-wide cultural change tend to invoke one of two broad models of individual change. One approach theorizes people actively updating their beliefs and behaviors in the face of new information. The other argues that, following early socialization experiences, dispositions are stable. We formalize these two models, elaborate empirical implications of each, and derive a simple combined model for comparing them using panel data. We test this model on 183 attitude and behavior items from the 2006 to 2014 rotating panels of the General Social Survey.
  4. Revisiting China’s Social Volcano: Attitudes toward Inequality and Political Trust in China

    Existing literature suggests that despite rising inequality in China, Chinese people tend to tolerate inequality, so it would be unlikely that rising inequality would cause sociopolitical instability. Few studies, however, have systematically explained Chinese people’s attitudes toward inequality, analyzed attitudinal changes over time, or examined the relationship between such attitudes and political trust. The author’s analysis of national surveys in 2004, 2009, and 2014 yields three findings.
  5. Producing Facts in a World of Alternatives: Why Journalism Matters and Why It Could Matter More

    In a time of shrinking newsrooms, newspaper closings, fake news, alternative facts and outrage, and incursion from outsiders, why does professional journalism matter anymore? How can journalists, looking to defend their profession and the news they produce, claim authority over truth and fact? Michael Schudson engages these questions in Why Journalism Still Matters, a collection of writings on the value of today’s journalism for today’s democracy.
  6. Comparing Internet Experiences and Prosociality in Amazon Mechanical Turk and Population-Based Survey Samples

    Given the high cost of traditional survey administration (postal mail, phone) and the limits of convenience samples such as university students, online samples offer a much welcomed alternative. Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT) has been especially popular among academics for conducting surveys and experiments. Prior research has shown that AMT samples are not representative of the general population along some dimensions, but evidence suggests that these differences may not undermine the validity of AMT research.
  7. Cancer-Related Debt and Mental-Health-Related Quality of Life among Rural Cancer Survivors: Do Family/Friend Informal Caregiver Networks Moderate the Relationship?

    Social connectedness generally buffers the effects of stressors on quality of life. Is this the case for cancer-related debt among rural cancer survivors? Drawing on a sample of 135 rural cancer survivors, we leverage family/friend informal caregiver network data to determine if informal cancer caregivers buffer or exacerbate the effect of cancer-related debt on mental-health-related quality of life (MHQOL).
  8. If Only It Were That Complex

    Research on the dynamics of social change is often framed by what Damon Centola refers to in his new book How Behavior Spreads: The Science of Complex Contagions as “the convenience of classical epidemiological tropes” (p. 173) in which “contagions” spread from infected to susceptible individuals through interaction. Social networks became alluring to use in conjunction with this epidemiological frame because the two together evoke the determinism of electrical wiring, with charges traveling paths (ties) structured by the location of switches (nodes) in the line.
  9. “He Explained It to Me and I Also Did It Myself”: How Older Adults Get Support with Their Technology Uses

    Given that older adults constitute a highly heterogeneous group that engages with digital media in varying ways, there is likely to be large variation in technology support needs, something heretofore unaddressed in the literature. Drawing on in-depth qualitative interviews with a multinational sample of older adults, the authors explore the support needs of older adults for using digital media, including their perceptions of whether the support they receive meets their needs.
  10. Lay Pharmacovigilance and the Dramatization of Risk: Fluoroquinolone Harm on YouTube

    Sociologists have documented how the pharmaceutical industry has corrupted pharmacovigilance (PV), defined as the practices devoted to detecting and preventing adverse drug reactions (ADRs). In this article, I juxtapose the official postmarketing system of PV with firsthand accounts of ADRs as found in 60 YouTube vlogs created by 29 individuals who recount debilitating reactions to fluoroquinolones, a common class of antibiotics. Whereas official PV is said to contribute the banalization of risk, these vlogs exemplify the dramatization of risk. I consider the vlogs as instances of lay PV.