Using Galileo theory and method of multidimensional scaling (MDS), we compared the psychological distances between concepts related to two pandemic viruses, Zika and COVID-19. Surveys (Zika,  410; COVID-19, = 291) were used to investigate the role of media use and interpersonal communication on the relationship between 10 concepts in multidimensional spaces. We asked these four research questions: Do the two spaces represent the two pandemics similarly? What is the relationship of and of to each pandemic? What is the effect of virus-related media use and interpersonal talk on the pandemic space? What are optimal messages for moving closer to and to ? Media use influenced the distances for both pandemics: With greater media use, the concepts were closer in the Zika space and further apart in the COVID-19 space. Interpersonal communication was associated with few differences in the spaces. Based on the psychological distances between concepts, optimal messages were identified: For Zika, a message with two concepts, and , is predicted to be most effective to move to the concept , whereas for COVID-19, a message with is predicted to be most effective to move to .

References

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