Media Coverage

Opening up the conversation and engaging the public
Making research part of the wider public conversation is a key goal of PERITIA. We seek to engage and interact with the public and media to bring our research closer to society and increase its impact. It is a great motivation for our investigators to contribute to current debates on trust in expertise and its implications for policy and society. Here you will find selected contributions from our team members that have been published on various media outlets.

The problem today is we trust too much, not too little

The Irish Times’ columnist Joe Humphreys covers the PERITIA conference “Trust in Expertise in a Changing Media Landscape" in an article.

Trust at Times of Covid 19

Due to the high relevance of trust in expertise used for informing public policy to tackle the pandemic, we have created this dedicated page where we collect all Covid 19 related contributions from our team.

What drives public trust in science-based policies? (European Science-Media Hub)

Interviews with Maria Baghramian, José van Dijck, and Bobby Duffy

We live in complex times. Times when the opinion of uninformed sources in social media seems to have a stronger influence than expert voices. And if this is a worrying situation at normal times, in exceptional times like in the midst of a global pandemic, knowing whom to trust becomes practically a matter of life and death, for the success of social interactions depends mainly on trust.

This article and three accompanying interviews present the work of PERITIA. Our investigators Maria Baghramian, José van Dijck and Bobby Duffy highlight why we need trust in trustworthy expertise, the impact of digital media, how our views of the world are tied up in our own identities, and how a detailed study of trust can be transformed into trust building processes and actions inspiring change that lead to more social cohesion and better democracy.

Economics, Psychology, Policy (Blog)

Liam Delaney

This blog is maintained by Liam Delaney to discuss issues at the intersection of economics, psychology, and policy, and emerging fields such as behavioural public policy and behavioural public administration.

Trust in Experts: Why and Why not (Jericho Chambers)

Maria Baghramian

We are faced with a profound crisis of social trust, or so we hear on a daily basis from all those with a public megaphone. We don’t trust our politicians because they repeatedly fail to keep their promises or act in good faith, the media, we think, do not give honest and unbiased reports, and as to the experts, we don’t trust them because they are on the side of the elites and are motivated by sectional interests. Not the same level or variety of trust is at stake in all these cases, but their common denominator is the experience that those who expect trust from the public do not act in the public’s interest and therefore are not worthy of our trust.

Scientific advisers strive to be ‘honest brokers’ in times of crisis (Irish Times)

Interview with Maria Baghramian

How can scientists best inform public policymakers at a time when policy decisions are often complex and the science is uncertain? With the spread of coronavirus now challenging both scientists and policymakers across Europe, this was the timely theme of a recent workshop in the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin.

Trust no one: The cynical logic of social media (Irish Times)

Interview with José Van Dijck

Scientists are bemoaning a loss of trust in expertise but spare a thought for the lowly journalist. Surveys show trust in science has not plummeted. In fact, it has increased in the United States, and is on a par now with trust in the military, with public confidence rates of well over 80 per cent, according to the latest Pew Research Centre opinion poll.

Contrast this with trust in the media, which has always trailed behind the public’s regard for science and has declined in the past five years – down 4 per cent to 43 per cent in 12 countries tracked in the annual Reuters Institute survey series.

While commentators are quick to blame either politicians or the proliferation of “fake news” for the trend, Prof José Van Dijck of Utrecht University believes there are bigger forces at play.

Forget Fake News: Why We’re Wrong About Nearly Everything (The Daily Beast)

Bobby Duffy

Deliberate disinformation and social media are just part of it, but our chronic sense of misperception has no one source. It’s based on what we’re told, but also how we think.

Experts, Disagreement, and Trust – When politics invites itself into your research (Education matters)

Maria Baghramian

Disagreement among individuals or social groups, a common feature of our daily lives, is troublesome not just because of its impact on our personal and sociopolitical relationships but also for the philosophical dilemmas it creates. One longstanding challenge, discussed by philosophers since the Sophist Protagoras (490–c.420 bc), is how to understand and deal with persistent disagreements, particularly in the normative domains of ethics, aesthetics, and matters of taste, which, despite centuries of debate, do not seem amenable to rational resolution. The ancient but enduring philosophical doctrines of relativism and scepticism are among the best-known attempts to resolve or dissolve this so-called problem of intractable disagreement.

By leap of faith? How to regain trust in science and expertise (

Interviews with Maria Baghramian and Luke Dury

Fake news? Post-truth? Populism? In the current environment of growing scepticism about political institutions and a dismissal of journalism and scientific facts, public trust in expertise is seen as eroding. Such trends are often associated with a changing digital communication landscape where new responses and mechanisms are required to find common ground in public discourse and decision-making.

Social media the ‘big game changer’ for trust in experts (Irish Times)

Interviews with Maria Baghramian and Luke Dury

The use of social media to access knowledge has contributed to a lack of trust in experts, according to a Dublin-based astrophysicist and philosopher who together are studying what makes experts trustworthy.

Social media has been the “big game changer” in the loss of context to evaluate the trustworthiness of information, believes Prof Luke Drury, the astrophysicist based at Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

Maria Baghramian, professor in the school of philosophy at University College Dublin refers to the use of social media to access knowledge as a “context collapse”, adding that when we see information on social media or other internet sources “we [often] don’t know who the expert is”.

A crisis of trust?

Maria Baghramian and Luke Drury

Almost every day we seem to hear another lamentation about falling levels of trust in institutions, experts and science. In this op-ed for the Sunday Business Post, we argue that the real picture is more complex than simply a breakdown in trust and we should pay more attention to the conditions of trustworthiness.