Coronavirus mages have been stylised in various ways, from colorising to adding three dimensional images. Now. A new study suggests that the black and white images of SARS-CoV-2 hinders awareness towards the highly contagious disease. The study suggests that colour and 3D images makes the virus look more favoured and makes its perception not quite realistic or contagious for the common mass.
The study by the Instituto de Radio Television Espanola and Universitat Autonoma was conducted during lockdown and was recently published in the PLoS ONE journal.
Researcher’s subjected their participants to different images of the SARS-CoV-2 and then were asked about parameters like perception of infectiousness, scientific nature, beauty, realism.
Other aspects that the study analysed are 2D Vs 3D, photo vs illustration, colour vs B&W and how these details in an image affect perception of even disease causing microbes.
The study further concluded that the beauty of these images is more likely seen in 3D and coloured images, the ones most used for representing SARS-CoV-2 to the public. The research also discusses the role the media reports plan in building perceptions by distributing images of the virus.
Researchers further came to the conclusion that there is a negative correlation between how beautiful, coloured stylised the image of the virus is and its didactic value. More beautiful the images were, less educational they came across the readers or spectators. However, the beautified images are most used when informing readers about SARS-CoV-2 despite the fact that the real images are in black and white, 2D images
According to the authors of the study, the derivatives of the study can be applied directly to the scientific communication sector in the design of protocols and communication plans in situations in which the behaviour of the population as a whole is key.
According to one of the researchers, the media bears great responsibility in providing correct information to its audience including the images it provides for the virus and presenting beautified images should give us something to think about.