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Dr John Kerr, Department of Public Health

John Kerr (2022)

Science Lead, Public Health Communication Centre

Contact details 

Email john.kerr@otago.ac.nz

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.

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.

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Publications

Dryhurst, S., Schneider, C. R., Kerr, J., Freeman, A. L. J., Recchia, G., van der Bles, A. M., … van der Linden, S. (2023). Risk perceptions of COVID-19 around the world. In J. K. Wardman & R. Löfstedt (Eds.), COVID-19: Confronting a new world risk. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781003316169

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

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

Williams, M. N., Marques, M. D., Hill, S. R., Kerr, J. R., & Ling, M. (2022). Why are beliefs in different conspiracy theories positively correlated across individuals? Testing monological network versus unidimensional factor model explanations. British Journal of Social Psychology, 61(3), 1011-1031. doi: 10.1111/bjso.12518

Marques, M. D., Ling, M., Williams, M. N., Kerr, J. R., & McLennan, J. A. (2022). Australasian public awareness and belief in conspiracy theories: Motivational correlates. Political Psychology, 43(1), 177-198. doi: 10.1111/pops.12746

Dryhurst, S., Schneider, C. R., Kerr, J., Freeman, A. L. J., Recchia, G., van der Bles, A. M., … van der Linden, S. (2023). Risk perceptions of COVID-19 around the world. In J. K. Wardman & R. Löfstedt (Eds.), COVID-19: Confronting a new world risk. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781003316169

Chapter in Book - Other

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

Marques, M. D., Hill, S. R., Clarke, E. J. R., Williams, M. N., Ling, M., Kerr, J. R., … Sibley, C. G. (2022). Democracy and belief in conspiracy theories in New Zealand. Australian Journal of Political Science, 57(3), 264-279. doi: 10.1080/10361146.2022.2122773

Journal - Research Article

Marques, M. D., Ling, M., Williams, M. N., Kerr, J. R., & McLennan, J. A. (2022). Australasian public awareness and belief in conspiracy theories: Motivational correlates. Political Psychology, 43(1), 177-198. doi: 10.1111/pops.12746

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

Williams, M. N., Marques, M. D., Hill, S. R., Kerr, J. R., & Ling, M. (2022). Why are beliefs in different conspiracy theories positively correlated across individuals? Testing monological network versus unidimensional factor model explanations. British Journal of Social Psychology, 61(3), 1011-1031. doi: 10.1111/bjso.12518

Journal - Research Article

Freeman, A. L. J., Kerr, J., Recchia, G., Schneider, C. R., Lawrence, A. C. E., Finikarides, L., … Spiegelhalter, D. (2021). Communicating personalized risks from COVID-19: Guidelines from an empirical study. Royal Society Open Science, 8, 201721. doi: 10.1098/rsos.201721

Journal - Research Article

Kerr, J. R., & Wilson, M. S. (2021). Right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation predict rejection of science and scientists. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 24(4), 550-567. doi: 10.1177/1368430221992126

Journal - Research Article

Kerr, J. R., Freeman, A. L. J., Marteau, T. M., & van der Linden, S. (2021). Effect of information about COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness and side effects on behavioural intentions: Two online experiments. Vaccines, 9, 379. doi: 10.3390/vaccines9040379

Journal - Research Article

Kerr, J. R., Schneider, C. R., Recchia, G., Dryhurst, S., Sahlin, U., Dufouil, C., … van der Linden, S. (2021). Correlates of intended COVID-19 vaccine acceptance across time and countries: Results from a series of cross-sectional surveys. BMJ Open, 11, e048025. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-048025

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

Marques, M. D., Kerr, J. R., Williams, M. N., Ling, M., & McLennan, J. A. (2021). Associations between conspiracism and the rejection of scientific innovations. Public Understanding of Science, 30(7), 854-867. doi: 10.1177/09636625211007013

Journal - Research Article

Schneider, C. R., Dryhurst, S., Kerr, J., Freeman, A. L. J., Recchia, G., Spiegelhalter, D., & van der Linden, S. (2021). COVID-19 risk perception: A longitudinal analysis of its predictors and associations with health protective behaviours in the United Kingdom. Journal of Risk Research, 24(3-4), 294-313. doi: 10.1080/13669877.2021.1890637

Journal - Research Article

Dryhurst, S., Schneider, C. R., Kerr, J., Freeman, A. L. J., Recchia, G., van der Bles, A. M., … van der Linden, S. (2020). Risk perceptions of COVID-19 around the world. Journal of Risk Research, 23(7-8), 994-1006. doi: 10.1080/13669877.2020.1758193

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

Stanley, S. K., Kerr, J. R., & Wilson, M. S. (2020). The influence of politics and labelling on New Zealanders’ attitudes towards animal agriculture emissions policy. Political Science, 72(1), 24-37. doi: 10.1080/00323187.2020.1800414

Journal - Research Article

Kerr, J. R., & Wilson, M. S. (2018). Changes in perceived scientific consensus shift beliefs about climate change and gm food safety. PLoS ONE, 13(7), e0200295. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0200295

Journal - Research Article

Kerr, J. R., & Wilson, M. S. (2018). Perceptions of scientific consensus do not predict later beliefs about the reality of climate change: A test of the gateway belief model using cross-lagged panel analysis. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 59, 107-110. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2018.08.012

Journal - Research Article

Kerr, J. R., & Davis, L. S. (2011). Benzylpiperazine in New Zealand: Brief history and current implications. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 41(1), 155-164. doi: 10.1080/03036758.2011.557036

Journal - Research Article

Goulton, C. S., Patten, A. R., Kerr, J. R., & Kerr, D. S. (2010). Pharmacological preconditioning with GYKI 52466: A prophylactic approach to neuroprotection. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 4, 54. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2010.00054

Journal - Research Article

Leitch, B., Shevtsova, O., & Kerr, J. R. (2009). Selective reduction in synaptic proteins involved in vesicle docking and signalling at synapses in the ataxic mutant mouse Stargazer. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 512(1), 52-73. doi: 10.1002/cne.21890

Journal - Research Article

Kerr, J. (2018). Attitudes towards science in New Zealand: Psychological factors and implications for science communication. Proceedings of the 15th International Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) Conference. (pp. 251). Retrieved from https://pcst.co/conferences

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Goulton, C. S., Patten, A. R., Kerr, J. R., & Kerr, D. (2010). Seizure protection with low-dose GYKI 52466: A metabotropic approach to neuroprotection? Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 40th Annual Meeting. SfN. Retrieved from http://www.abstractsonline.com/Plan/SSResults.aspx

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Kerr, J., Wilson, N., Hales, S. (2022, July). Air pollution in Aotearoa NZ: Five key ways to reduce the massive health and social costs. Public Health Expert blog. Retrieved from https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/air-pollution-in-aotearoa-nz-five-key-ways-to-reduce-the-massive-health-and-social-costs/

Other Research Output

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