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Does precautionary information about electromagnetic fields trigger nocebo responses? An experimental risk communication study

Overview of attention for article published in Environmental Health, April 2018
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Mentioned by

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7 tweeters
facebook
1 Facebook page

Citations

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8 Dimensions

Readers on

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51 Mendeley
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Title
Does precautionary information about electromagnetic fields trigger nocebo responses? An experimental risk communication study
Published in
Environmental Health, April 2018
DOI 10.1186/s12940-018-0377-y
Pubmed ID
Authors

Christoph Boehmert, Adam Verrender, Mario Pauli, Peter Wiedemann

Abstract

Regarding electromagnetic fields from mobile communication technologies, empirical studies have shown that precautionary information given to lay recipients increases their risk perceptions, i.e. the belief that electromagnetic fields are dangerous. Taking this finding one step further, the current study investigates whether precautionary information also leads to higher symptom perceptions in an alleged exposure situation. Building on existing research on nocebo responses to sham electromagnetic fields, an interaction of the precautionary information with personality characteristics was hypothesised. An experimental design with sham exposure to an electromagnetic field of a WLAN device was deployed. The final sample is constituted by N = 137 participants. Participants received either only basic information about the safety of current WLAN exposure limits or in addition also precautionary information (e.g. 'prefer wired connections if wireless technology can be relinquished'). Subsequently, symptoms and other variables were assessed before and after sham exposure to a WLAN electromagnetic field. Results are not in favour of the hypothesised effects. There was neither a main effect of precautionary information, nor were there any of the hypothesised interaction effects of precautionary information and personality characteristics on perceived symptoms under sham exposure. Exploratory analyses highlight the role of prior risk perception as a predictor of nocebo responses, and of symptom expectations as a mediator between these two variables. As the statistical power to detect even small effects was relatively high, we interpret this as a robust indication that precautionary information does not lead to increased nocebo responses by itself. The implications for health authorities´ communication with the public are discussed.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 7 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 51 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 51 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Unspecified 9 18%
Researcher 9 18%
Other 5 10%
Student > Doctoral Student 5 10%
Student > Ph. D. Student 5 10%
Other 12 24%
Unknown 6 12%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Unspecified 10 20%
Psychology 7 14%
Engineering 6 12%
Medicine and Dentistry 5 10%
Nursing and Health Professions 5 10%
Other 12 24%
Unknown 6 12%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 5. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 12 April 2022.
All research outputs
#6,069,737
of 23,043,346 outputs
Outputs from Environmental Health
#717
of 1,508 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#106,186
of 329,221 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Environmental Health
#15
of 28 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 23,043,346 research outputs across all sources so far. This one has received more attention than most of these and is in the 73rd percentile.
So far Altmetric has tracked 1,508 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 32.2. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 52% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 329,221 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 67% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 28 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 46th percentile – i.e., 46% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.