Next Article in Journal
Chemical Characterization and Seasonality of Ambient Particles (PM2.5) in the City Centre of Addis Ababa
Previous Article in Journal
An Interdisciplinary Mixed-Methods Approach to Analyzing Urban Spaces: The Case of Urban Walkability and Bikeability
Open AccessArticle

How COVID-19 Changed the Information Needs of Italian Citizens

Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, ISTC-CNR, 00185 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 6988; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17196988
Received: 13 August 2020 / Revised: 18 September 2020 / Accepted: 20 September 2020 / Published: 24 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Misinformation on Social Media)
Italy was the first European country to be affected by COVID-19, facing an unprecedented situation. The reaction required drastic solutions and highly restrictive measures, which severely tested the trust of the Italian people. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of the introduced measures was not only linked to political decisions, but also to the choice of the Italian people to trust and rely on institutions, accepting such necessary measures. In this context, the role of information sources was fundamental, since they strongly influence public opinion. The central focus of this research was to assess the information seeking behavior (ISB) of the Italian citizens, to understand how they related to information and how their specific use of information influenced public opinion. By making use of a survey addressed to 4260 Italian citizens, we identified extraordinarily virtuous behavior in the population: people strongly modified their ISB in order to address the most reliable sources. In particular, we found a very high reliance on scientists, which is particularly striking, if compared to the past. Moreover, starting from the survey results, we used social simulation to estimate the evolution of public opinion. Comparing the ISB during and before COVID-19, we discovered that the shift in the ISB, during the pandemic, may have actually positively influenced public opinion, facilitating the acceptance of the costly restrictions introduced. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; fake news; misleading information; trust; misinformation; information-seeking behavior; social simulation COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; fake news; misleading information; trust; misinformation; information-seeking behavior; social simulation
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Falcone, R.; Sapienza, A. How COVID-19 Changed the Information Needs of Italian Citizens. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6988.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop