The Science of Science Communication: National Academies Event Examines Our Inconvenient Minds and Social Identities
Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of research from the social and behavioral sciences offering insight on how individuals, social groups and political systems come to understand and make decisions related to science, the environment, technology, and medicine.
Research in this area stretches across disciplinary boundaries, university departments, funding agencies and field-specific journals, is the subject of inquiry at journals like Science and Nature, debated in the media and at blogs, and the focus of top-selling books.
Indeed, as New Scientist magazine proclaimed in a recent cover story: "It may be high time US scientists put aside their own scepticism about the 'soft' social sciences, and embrace what these studies have to say" about the communication processes shaping debates ranging from climate change to stem cell research.
Enter the National Academies.
Marshaling the very best of its convening and agenda-setting function, on May 20-21 in Washington, DC, the Academies will be hosting a prestigious 2-day Sackler Colloquia surveying the state-of-the-art of social science research on communication, connecting this research to its implications for science-related governance, policy and public engagement.
In one of the sessions, I will be joined by colleagues William Eveland and Dominique Brossard, reviewing research on how the media cover and portray science; the relationship to policy and societal decisions; how audiences find and use information, and the impact on attitudes, behavior and knowledge.
Other presentations by collaborators familiar to readers of this blog include Edward Maibach reviewing the role of research in science communication across the private, government and non-profit sectors; Anthony Leiserowitz proposing innovations related to climate change communication; and Dietram Scheufele integrating research across fields on the societal dynamics of science communication
I have posted the 2 day agenda below. You will want to register early by May 7. The event will be held in the historic National Academy of Sciences building, located at 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC, adjacent to the National Mall, U.S. State Department and Lincoln Memorial.
The event was organized by National Academies president Ralph Cicerone and Vice President Barbara Schaal, AAAS CEO Alan Leshner, Carnegie Mellon University's Baruch Fischhoff, and the University of Wisconsin's Dietram Scheufele. Video will be available and summary papers by participants will be submitted for review and possible publication at the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.
Program and Agenda
Monday, May 21, 2012
The Science of Science Communication: Overviews
10:00 a.m.Science in our Daily Life: Emerging Technologies and Their Likely Impacts on Lay Publics
12:00 p.m.Lunch Speaker
1:00 p.m.The Science of Science Communication I: What do people likely need to know about science?
3:00 p.m.The Science of Science Communication II: How can scientists provide the information that individuals need? How can that information be conveyed effectively? How can trustworthy communication channels be created?
5:00 p.m.Annual Sackler Lecture
5:00 p.m. – Reception6:00 p.m. – Annual Sackler Lecture, Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
8:45 a.m.The Science of Science Communication III: Communication Dynamics in Socio-Political Contexts – How Science is Presented and Understood in Modern Mass Cultures
10:45 a.m.Science and Politics: Forum of Presidential Science Advisors
Moderator: Ralph Cicerone
1:15 p.m.The Science of Science Communication IV: Structures and Strategies—Developing Organizational Infrastructures for Evidence-Based Communication about Science
3:15 p.m.Bold Proposals: Harnessing Communication Science
Speakers: Barbara Kline Pope, National Academy of Sciences
Anthony Leiserowitz, Yale University
Valerie Reyna, Cornell University
Respondents:Alan Leshner, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Michael Crow, Arizona State
Paula S. Apsell, PBS/NOVA
4:30 p.m.General Discussion
To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.
- Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
- Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
- Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
Philosophers like to present their works as if everything before it was wrong. Sometimes, they even say they have ended the need for more philosophy. So, what happens when somebody realizes they were mistaken?
Sometimes philosophers are wrong and admitting that you could be wrong is a big part of being a real philosopher. While most philosophers make minor adjustments to their arguments to correct for mistakes, others make large shifts in their thinking. Here, we have four philosophers who went back on what they said earlier in often radical ways.
Just before I turned 60, I discovered that sharing my story by drawing could be an effective way to both alleviate my symptoms and combat that stigma.
I've lived much of my life with anxiety and depression, including the negative feelings – shame and self-doubt – that seduced me into believing the stigma around mental illness: that people knew I wasn't good enough; that they would avoid me because I was different or unstable; and that I had to find a way to make them like me.
A joint study by two England universities explores the link between sex and cognitive function with some surprising differences in male and female outcomes in old age.
- A joint study by the universities of Coventry and Oxford in England has linked sexual activity with higher cognitive abilities in older age.
- The results of this study suggest there are significant associations between sexual activity and number sequencing/word recall in men. In women, however, there was a significant association between sexual activity in word recall alone - number sequencing was not impacted.
- The differences in testosterone (the male sex hormone) and oxytocin (a predominantly female hormone) may factor into why the male cognitive level changes much more during sexual activity in older age.
Mathematicians studied 100 billion tweets to help computer algorithms better understand our colloquial digital communication.