Interactions between emotional and cognitive engagement with science on YouTube

Ilana Dubovi, Iris Tabak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This study aimed to map and characterize public engagement with science on YouTube. A two-part study was conducted. First, we collected and quantitatively analyzed trending videos on YouTube to evaluate the magnitude of public interaction with science content. Then, we assessed actual, rather than self-reports of, media interactions with science-related YouTube trending videos. We tested associations between behavioral engagement of viewing, liking, disliking or commenting, and emotional and cognitive engagement. Our findings affirm that science content attracts high public interest and that emotional and cognitive engagement with science on social media are distinct, but interrelated. We show that regardless of the valence of emotional engagement, emotion is linked to greater behavioral engagement of posting comments and to greater cognitive engagement of argumentative deliberation. Therefore, our findings suggest that social media interactions, which tend to evoke emotional responses, are a promising means of advancing person-to-person engagement with science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-776
Number of pages18
JournalPublic Understanding of Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2021


  • YouTube
  • argumentation
  • behavioral engagement
  • cognitive engagement
  • emotional engagement
  • public engagement in science
  • sentiment analysis
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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