The recent COVID-19 pandemic has seen an explosion of coronavirus-related information. In many cases, this information was supported by images representing the SARS-CoV-2. To evaluate how attributes of images representing the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that were used in the initial phase of the coronavirus crisis in 2020 influenced the public's perceptions. We have carried out an in-depth survey using 46 coronavirus images, asking individuals how beautiful, scientific, realistic, infectious, scary and didactic they appeared to be. We collected 91,908 responses, obtaining 15,315 associations for each category. While the reference image of SARS-CoV-2 used in the media is a three-dimensional, colour, illustration, we found that illustrations of the coronavirus were perceived as beautiful but not very realistic, scientific or didactic. By contrast, black and white coronavirus images are thought to be the opposite. The beauty of coronavirus images was negatively correlated with the perception of scientific realism and didactic value. Given these effects and the consequences on the individual's perception, it is important to evaluate the influence that different images of SARS-CoV-2 may have on the population.
|Publication status||Published - 2021|