About this Research Topic
The prevalence of Internet-based technologies has lowered the cost of health information seeking and sharing significantly. While this could potentially facilitate health self-management and enables individuals to exchange social support through health information sharing, it also enhances the chance of misinformation and rumors. Indeed, the widespread of misinformation and rumors via Internet-based technologies has become a serious issue since the COVID-19 outbreak. The infodemic is now a severe threat to public health and general welfare of the society, in addition to physical virus.
Therefore, in addition to seeking and sharing information, how individuals process the information they find deserves scholarly attention. Are people aware of the threat of misinformation? Do they evaluate the quality of the information they find before they share? Do they seek additional help for information processing and appraisal? This call focuses on health information seeking, processing, and sharing. We are interested in studies that can provide theoretical and/or practical implications which can enhance our understanding about how people seek health information through different channels, the mechanisms by which people process the health information they find and evaluate its credibility, and what factors affect their decisions about whether to share the health information they find. Particularly, we look for studies that extend our understanding of following questions:
• What factors motivate individuals to search health information?
• What channels do they usually use to seek health information? Do they have any priority when it comes to channel choice?
• What are the mechanisms and neural substrates underlying the interaction of emotion and cognition during health-related information processing?
• How do structural and content aspects of the health message affect how much attention is paid to the message?
• What factors motivate individuals to evaluate the credibility of health information they find?
• Are people conscious of the potential risk of misinformation when they process health information they find? How do they evaluate its credibility? What resources do they use to appraise the quality of health information?
• What factors affect people’s decisions to share health information? Who do they usually share this information with?
While we respect all methodologies, we are particularly interested in quantitative research such as survey and experiments. Qualitative studies and high-quality systematic reviews that can provide important directions for future research are also welcome.
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