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Does a Scientific Breakthrough Increase Confidence in Science? News of a Zika Vaccine and Trust in Science

How can public support for science be encouraged? In early August 2016, a Zika vaccine entered its first human trial. Extensive media coverage followed. Using repeated cross-sectional surveys, we observed that, following this media coverage, survey respondents reported greater attention to Zika news and an increased trust in science as providing solutions to problems. Whereas the increase in attention was long-lived, lasting 6 weeks or more, the increase in trust was short-lived, lasting only 2 weeks. This result provides insight into the duration of media effects and suggests conditions that facilitate trust in science.