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The Perception of Scientific and Para- / Pseudoscientific Content in the New Media Examining the Example of the YouTube Platform

ФИО студента: Anna Platova

Руководитель: Alexander Mannin

Кампус/факультет: Faculty of Communications, Media, and Design

Программа: Advertising and Public Relations (Bachelor)

Год защиты: 2020

The purpose of this research is to describe the way people perceive scientific and para- pseudoscientific content, based on the knowledge of such concepts as doublethink and clustered audience. These two concepts support contradictory statements, and the number of studies on the matter is limited and mainly focused on the concepts separately. With the intention of examining the former question, the author attempts to use a mixed-methods research approach with the combination of content analysis, survey and in-depth interview. The methodology enables to create an overall idea of scientific and para- / pseudoscientific discourses, to identify the audience that consumes both types of content, and then determine the reasons why they choose to deviate from online clusters. As a result of this research it has been found that the boundaries of the two discourses are interpenetrating and not clearly defined. It has also been confirmed that the mutual audience has strongly defined belief inconsistency and a lack of a clear position regarding para- and pseudoscientific beliefs, which also correlates with the fact that it is difficult for the audience to define the line between scientific and para-/pseudoscientific discourses. Moreover, one of the most common motives for watching both types of videos is entertainment, which does not imply deep diving into the subject. The author concludes that combination of the two discourses in the absence of real authority in YouTube, the complexity of verification and video selection via platform recommendations which do not work efficiently enough result in the fact that YouTube becomes the regulator of both discourses and people’s mind, who dive into the information which they can not verify.

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