Profile picture for user motta.matthew

Matthew Motta

Science of Science Communication Postdoctoral Fellow, Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania
Yale Law School
Chapter Member: Connecticut SSN
Areas of Expertise:
  • Science & Technology
  • Media & Public Opinion

Connect with Matthew

About Matthew

Motta's research focuses on Americans' attitudes toward science, experts, and science communication more generally. Overarching themes in Motta's writing include the effect of interest in science on opinion toward scientists and scientific consensus, as well as the political implications of anti-expert attitudes. Motta's research also touches on a wide range of topics in public opinion, political psychology, and mass communication.

Contributions

No Jargon Podcast

In the News

Matthew Motta quoted on public opinion on climate change in Laura Hazard Owens, "This is How an Iranian Network Created a “Disinformation Supply Chain” to Spread Fake News" NiemanLab, May 17, 2019.
Interview on the rise of anti-intellectualism Matthew Motta, Access Minnesota, September 21, 2017.
"Republicans are Increasingly Antagonistic toward Experts. Here's Why That Matters.," Matthew Motta, Monkey Cage, The Washington Post, August 11, 2017.
"Are "Gay" and "Homosexual" the Same? Here's What We Found.," Matthew Motta, Monkey Cage, The Washington Post, May 22, 2017.
Matthew Motta quoted on the March for Science and the possible politicization of science in Brendan Nyhan, "How Marching for Science Risks Politicizing It" The New York Times, May 2, 2017.
"Trumpism is Just as Popular in Denmark as the United States," Matthew Motta, Monkey Cage, The Washington Post, December 22, 2016.
Interview on the polls in the wake of "The Comey Letter" Matthew Motta, KARE-11 (NBC, Twin Cities), October 31, 2016.

Publications

""Gay" or "Homosexual"? The Implications of Social Category Labels for the Structure of Mass Attitudes" (with Brianna A. Smith, Zein Murib, Timothy H. Callaghan, and Marissa Theys). American Politics Research 46, no. 2 (2017): 336-372.

Shows that "gay" and "homosexual" are far from being synonyms and have consequences for attitudes about gay and lesbian rights. Provides a historical overview of the terms "homosexual" and "gay and lesbian," showing the different connotations that social groups have come to associate with these terms. Shows that group identity and authoritarianism shape attitudes toward "homosexual" rights differently than "gay and lesbian" rights. 

"The Enduring Effect of Scientific Interest on Trust in Climate Scientists in the United States" Nature Climate Change 8 (2018): 485-488.

Finds that interest in science at age 12-14 years is associated with increased trust in climate scientists in adulthood (mid thirties), irrespective of Americans' political ideology. 

"The Dynamics of Political Implications of Anti-Intellectualism in the United States" American Politics Research 46, no. 3 (2017): 465-498.

Finds that anti-intellectualism is associated with not only the rejection of policy-relevant matters of scientific consensus but support for political movements (e.g. "Brexit") and politicians (e.g. George Wallace and Donald Trump) who are skeptical of experts. Shows that these effects can be mitigated. Discusses how scholars might build on this research to study the political consequences of anti-intellectualism in the future. 

"What Do Interviewer Intelligence Ratings Actually Measure?" Research & Politics 3, no. 3 (2016).

Finds that political engagement and demographic factors but not actual measurements of cognitive ability are associated with interviewer intelligence rating scores. Suggests that interviewer ratings are better understood as proxies for political engagement, not cognitive ability. Argues that the growing importance of studying cognitive ability in political science makes it necessary to include more objective verbal intelligence tests more frequently in public opinion surveys.

"The Polarizing Effect of the March for Science on Attitudes toward Scientists" PS: Political Science & Politics (2018).

Considers how March for Science rallies that took place across the United States in late April 2017 influenced Americans' attitudes toward scientists and the research they produce. Shows that the March appears to have had little effect on the public's attitudes about scientific research. Calls attention to the possibility that the political actions of scientists can shape public opinion about them.