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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. G., Kvalsvig, A., Plank, M. J., Geoghegan, J. L., Wall, T., Tukuitonga, C., Summers, J., Bennett, J., Kerr, J., Turner, N., … Betty, B., … French, N., & Wilson, N. (2023). Continued mitigation needed to minimise the high health burden from COVID-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal/Te ara tika o te hauora hapori, 136(1583), 67-91. Retrieved from Journal - Research Other

Kerr, J. R., Schneider, C. R., Freeman, A. L. J., Marteau, T., & van der Linden, S. (2022). Transparent communication of evidence does not undermine public trust in evidence. PNAS Nexus, 1(5), pgac280. doi: 10.1093/pnasnexus/pgac280 Journal - Research Article

Kerr, J., Panagopoulos, C., & van der Linden, S. (2021). Political polarization on COVID-19 pandemic response in the United States. Personality & Individual Differences, 179, 110892. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2021.110892 Journal - Research Article

Roozenbeek, J., Schneider, C. R., Dryhurst, S., Kerr, J., Freeman, A. L. J., Recchia, G., … van der Linden, S. (2020). Susceptibility to misinformation about COVID-19 around the world. Royal Society Open Science, 7, 201199. doi: 10.1098/rsos.201199 Journal - Research Article

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 Journal - Research Other

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