At Big Think, Thoughts on Framing, Dawkins, Climate Change, and the "Paradigm Sheep" in Science Communication

Back in July, I sat down for an hour long interview with the new TED-like social media site Big Think. The innovative project features "hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers" segmented by topic category and spliced into 3 to 4 minute conversations.

The general focus of the interview was on the nature of strategic communication with an emphasis on science and environmental topics. Big Think has organized the conversations into 11 different sections. I link to several of these below with the description from the site. The themes will be familiar to readers of this blog and to others who have followed the Framing Science debate.

Public Relations for Science
The same concepts that apply to a political campaign also work when communicating science explains Matthew Nisbet.


Wagging the Dog: Media and Public Policy

Matthew Nisbet emphasizes the cyclical nature of the relationship between public policy and media.

Barack Obama as a Master Communicator
Matthew Nisbet explains Obama's appeal.

The Pros and Cons of Richard Dawkins
Matthew Nisbet walks a fine line in the age-old debate between religion and science.

Explaining the Paradigm Sheep
Matthew Nisbet explains an article that documents the history of a paradigm shift in the public relationship to science.

Studying Audience Behavior
New campaigns often use the same techniques to communicate, however Matthew Nisbet points out that this involves more than simplification

Crisis Communication 101
PR advice to politicians from expert Matthew Nisbet.

Outlining Successful Strategies
The best communicators focus on motivation, emotion, and framing, explains Matthew Nisbet.

Balancing Education and Entertainment
Matthew Nisbet says campaigns must first garner attention, then deliver useful information.


The 4 types of thinking talents: Analytic, procedural, relational and innovative

Understanding thinking talents in yourself and others can build strong teams and help avoid burnout.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to collaborate within a team and identify "thinking talent" surpluses – and shortages.
  • Angie McArthur teaches intelligent collaboration for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
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Do you have a self-actualized personality? Maslow revisited

Rediscovering the principles of self-actualisation might be just the tonic that the modern world is crying out for.

Personal Growth

Abraham Maslow was the 20th-century American psychologist best-known for explaining motivation through his hierarchy of needs, which he represented in a pyramid. At the base, our physiological needs include food, water, warmth and rest.

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Brazilian scientists produce mini-brains with eyes

Using a new process, a mini-brain develops retinal cells.

Surprising Science
  • Mini-brains, or "neural organoids," are at the cutting edge of medical research.
  • This is the first one that's started developing eyes.
  • Stem cells are key to the growing of organoids of various body parts.
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Believe in soulmates? You're more likely to 'ghost' romantic partners.

Does believing in true love make people act like jerks?

Thought Catalog via Unsplash
Sex & Relationships
  • Ghosting, or cutting off all contact suddenly with a romantic partner, is not nice.
  • Growth-oriented people (who think relationships are made, not born) do not appreciate it.
  • Destiny-oriented people (who believe in soulmates) are more likely to be okay with ghosting.
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