Theses Doctoral

Increasing Consumer Trust in Science

Ding, Yu

Focusing on consumer trust in science, this dissertation explores the societal and ecological factors that can influence consumer’s science denial tendency, and also explores how to leverage consumers’ input with crowdsourcing to rate scientific article veracity and hence create a trustworthy media environment.

In the first chapter, I find that lower religious diversity in a region, or an individual’s experience, predicts lower religious tolerance and greater science denial. The belief that my religion trumps other religions precipitates the attitude that it trumps science too. I find supporting evidence from seven studies using U.S. mobile location data, census data, worldwide archival data, national surveys conducted in different countries with participants from different religious groups, and experiments.

In the second chapter, I propose a novel crowdsourcing method to leverage the input of general consumers into the fact-checking efforts. I validate the use of similarity judgments to facilitate unbiased consumer responses and prove that asking lay consumers to rate the similarity between scientist-rated and unrated articles provide an unbiased and efficient way to scale up veracity ratings of scientific articles. In order to increase consumer trust in science, I argue that policy makers should emphasize religious integration and heterogeneity in communities. In order to build a better news environment with more trustworthy scientific information, I argue that news companies, news platforms, and third-party fact-checkers can engage general consumers’ input by asking the right questions to get unbiased and reliable responses.

Geographic Areas


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2024-04-15.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Johar, Gita V.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 20, 2022