The accuracy of German citizens’ confidence in their climate change knowledge

Author(s): Fischer, H., Amelung, D., Said, N.
In: Nature Climate Change. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-019-0563-0
Year: 2019
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Stewardship, Transformations
Link to centre authors: Fischer, Helen
Full reference: Fischer, H., Amelung, D., Said, N. 2019. The accuracy of German citizens’ confidence in their climate change knowledge. Nature Climate Change. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-019-0563-0

Summary

Accurate confidence—confidence that reflects the accuracy of knowledge—can be relevant for decision-making in areas of high uncertainty. Accuracy of confidence is of particular importance in the area of climate change where scientifically correct information exists alongside misinformation in the public discourse and media. Here we assess the accuracy of confidence in climate change knowledge in a national German sample (n = 509).

The accuracy of the confidence of the citizens in their climate change knowledge was only around half of what it could be based on the accuracy of their knowledge. Moreover, the accuracy of confidence controlling for knowledge accuracy was lower for climate change than for two benchmark comparisons: general science knowledge in another national German sample (n = 588), and climate change knowledge in a scientist sample (n = 207). Although these results cannot necessarily be generalized to the population of all indicators of climate change knowledge, the results suggest that the confidence of citizens in their climate change knowledge is unnecessarily fuzzy given their actual knowledge.

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