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John Kerr (2022)Science Lead, Public Health Communication Centre

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Research interests and activities  

John is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington, and Science Lead for the Public Health Communication Centre.
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His research interests include:

  • communication of scientific information to non-experts
  • media coverage of, and beliefs about publicly debated scientific issues
  • political attitudes, conspiracy theories and misinformation

John received his PhD in psychology from Victoria University of Wellington in 2020 and holds a BSc(Hons) in neuroscience and a master's degree in science communication, both from the University of Otago. Prior to his current role, John held a Research Associate position at the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge. Outside of research, he has also worked in publishing and communications roles in the UK and New Zealand, most recently as a Senior Media Advisor at the Science Media Centre of New Zealand.


Baker, M., Wilson, N., Hales, S., Kerr, J., Broadbent, A., & Wall, T. (2023). Why Aotearoa New Zealand needs a Public Health Communication Centre. The Briefing, (9 February). Retrieved from

Kerr, J., Thomson, G., & Wilson, N. (2023). Cyclone Gabrielle joins list of Aotearoa NZ's 'sudden mass fatality events'. The Briefing, (28 March). Retrieved from

Tanase, L.-M., Kerr, J., Freeman, A. L. J., & Schneider, C. R. (2022). COVID-19 risk perception and hoax beliefs in the US immediately before and after the announcement of President Trump's diagnosis. Royal Society Open Science, 9, 212013. doi: 10.1098/rsos.212013

Dryhurst, S., Mulder, F., Dallo, I., Kerr, J. R., McBride, S. K., Fallou, L., & Becker, J. S. (2022). Fighting misinformation in seismology: Expert opinion on earthquake facts vs. fiction. Frontiers in Earth Science, 10, 937055. doi: 10.3389/feart.2022.937055

Kerr, J. R., & van der Linden, S. (2022). Communicating expert consensus increases personal support for COVID-19 mitigation policies. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 52, 15-29. doi: 10.1111/jasp.12827

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