College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Scholarly Discussion on Health Communication in One Health Seminar

In the era of information overload, we receive health information from diversified channels, including social media platforms, friends, family and internet. Health information are not always generated and distributed properly; the quality of health information available online varies and those without credible sources may cause confusion among public and help spread public health misinformation. 

To understand the new trends of health communication and the strategic communications adopted by public health practitioners nowadays, the One Health research cluster of CityU’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences has invited three distinguished scholars in health communication to speak at the One Health Seminar to discuss the recent advancements in the field on 28 April 2022 through Zoom. 

The panel talk was hosted by Dr Crystal JIANG, Associate Professor of CityU’s Department of Media and Communication. Dr Jiang’s research focuses on cognitive processing and interpersonal dynamics in the contexts of health communication, persuasion and new media. The first presentation was given by Prof SHEN Fuyuan, the Donald P Bellisario Professor of Advertising and Head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, Pennsylvania State University, on the topic “Conversion Narratives and COVID-19 Vaccination Attitudes”. He shared a recent study about examining conversion narratives in relation to advocacy messages in reducing vaccine hesitancy related to COVID-19 vaccine uptake. The result showed that for high vaccine-hesitant participants, the relationship between conversion messages and attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccinations was mediated through source credibility. For low vaccine-hesitant participants, mediation was occurred through counterarguing. These findings have important implications for COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.

Epistemic egocentrism and self-confirmation bias are often considered by many scholars as big challenges to correct misinformation, due to the fact that individuals defensively process health information which is inconsistent with their existing beliefs/positions/behaviours. Prof SHEN Lijiang of Communication Arts and Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, was invited to explain why such defensive information processing is almost ubiquitous and results in affective/attitudinal polarization in the second panel talk titled “When Facts do not Persuade and Misinformation Persists: The Processing of Health Misinformation”. He presented and discussed data from two studies on the topic of vaccine-autism link and climate change.

The last panel talk “New Directions for Health Communication Research” was presented by Prof CHO Hyunyi from the School of Communication, Ohio State University. The new directions shared by Prof Cho includeed the examination of social media implications on public health and racism effects on mental and physical health. She also discussed the approaches to address these effects at the talk.

For those who are interested to know more global public health issues and the views of scholars around the world, don’t miss the upcoming One Health Seminar which will be held on 5 May 2022. Please click the link here for more details and registration.