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Public Understanding of Science

Marina Joubert
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 1, 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Branden B Johnson, Nathan F Dieckmann
A survey experiment assessed response to five explanations of scientific disputes: problem complexity, self-interest, values, competence, and process choices (e.g. theories and methods). A US lay sample ( n = 453) did not distinguish interests from values, nor competence from process, as explanations of disputes. Process/competence was rated most likely and interests/values least; all, on average, were deemed likely to explain scientific disputes. Latent class analysis revealed distinct subgroups varying in their explanation preferences, with a more complex latent class structure for participants who had heard of scientific disputes in the past...
October 1, 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Mike Michael
This exploratory article considers the implications of a particular genre - YouTube videos of iPhone destruction - for the Citizen Science and Public Understanding of Science/Public Engagement with Science and Technology. Situating this genre within a broader TV tradition of 'destructive testing' programmes, there is a description of the forms of destruction visited upon the iPhone, and an analysis of the features shared by the videos (e.g. mode of address, enactments of the experiment). Drawing on the notion of the 'idiotic', there is a discussion of the genre that aims to treat its evident lack of scientific and citizenly 'seriousness' productively...
October 1, 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Joanna K Huxster, Matthew H Slater, Jason Leddington, Victor LoPiccolo, Jeffrey Bergman, Mack Jones, Caroline McGlynn, Nicolas Diaz, Nathan Aspinall, Julia Bresticker, Melissa Hopkins
This study examines the conflation of terms such as "knowledge" and "understanding" in peer-reviewed literature, and tests the hypothesis that little current research clearly distinguishes between importantly distinct epistemic states. Two sets of data are presented from papers published in the journal Public Understanding of Science. In the first set, the digital text analysis tool, Voyant, is used to analyze all papers published in 2014 for the use of epistemic success terms. In the second set of data, all papers published in Public Understanding of Science from 2010-2015 are systematically analyzed to identify instances in which epistemic states are empirically measured...
October 1, 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Amy Unsworth, David Voas
According to poll results and media reports, Britain has a significant and growing number of creationists. However, little scholarly research has been carried out to explore this phenomenon. We present results from a national survey of 6020 individuals to give a comprehensive picture of contemporary public attitudes to evolution in Britain. Furthermore, we explore the effects of religion and education on attitudes to evolution. Unique to this study, we analyse the effects of attending a religiously affiliated school ('faith school') on acceptance of evolutionary theory...
October 1, 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Josh Pasek
Individuals who provide incorrect answers to scientific knowledge questions have long been considered scientifically illiterate. Yet, increasing evidence suggests that motivated reasoning, rather than ignorance, may explain many of these incorrect answers. This article uses novel survey measures to assess two processes by which motivated reasoning might lead to incorrect personal beliefs: motivated individuals may fail to identify the presence of a scientific consensus on some issue or they may recognize a consensus while questioning its veracity...
September 1, 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Declan Fahy
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Massimiano Bucchi
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Sanne Knudsen
The humanities, the natural and social sciences all represent advanced and systematic knowledge production-and they all receive public funding for doing so. However, although the field of public understanding of science has been well established for decades, similar research attention has not been directed at the humanities. The purpose of this study is to argue the case for further research of public understanding of the humanities and to take a first step in that direction by presenting a study of the framing of the humanities in Danish print news media...
November 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Guoyan Wang, Jane Gregory, Xi Cheng, Yuting Yao
Our statistical analysis of research publications in the prestigious scientific journals Nature, Science and Cell reveals that papers represented by an image on the journal's cover gain many more citations in the academic literature than those papers in the same journals that are not represented on the cover. Meanwhile, the number of images used by high-prestige journals is much higher than that used by journals in general, which indicates both the emergence of a new aesthetic of prestige scientific publication, and also that this aesthetic is relevant to journals' impact...
November 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Lisa Scharrer, Yvonne Rupieper, Marc Stadtler, Rainer Bromme
Science popularization fulfills the important task of making scientific knowledge understandable and accessible for the lay public. However, the simplification of information required to achieve this accessibility may lead to the risk of audiences relying overly strongly on their own epistemic capabilities when making judgments about scientific claims. Moreover, they may underestimate how the division of cognitive labor makes them dependent on experts. This article reports an empirical study demonstrating that this "easiness effect of science popularization" occurs when laypeople read authentic popularized science depictions...
November 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Moritz Büchi
Mass media have long provided general publics with science news. New media such as Twitter have entered this system and provide an additional platform for the dissemination of science information. Based on automated collection and analysis of >900 news articles and 70,000 tweets, this study explores the online communication of current science news. Topic modeling (latent Dirichlet allocation) was used to extract five broad themes of science reporting: space missions, the US government shutdown, cancer research, Nobel Prizes, and climate change...
November 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Rony Armon, Ayelet Baram-Tsabari
The public communication of science and technology largely depends on their framing in the news media, but scientists' role in this process has only been explored indirectly. This study focuses on storied accounts told by scientists when asked to present their research or provide expert advice in the course of a news interview. A total of 150 items from a current affairs talk show broadcast in the Israeli media were explored through a methodology combining narrative and conversation analysis. Using the concept of framing as originally proposed by Erving Goffman, we show that researchers use personal accounts as a way of reframing news stories introduced by the program hosts...
November 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Sara K Yeo, Xuan Liang, Dominique Brossard, Kathleen M Rose, Kaine Korzekwa, Dietram A Scheufele, Michael A Xenos
Using the "#arseniclife" controversy as a case study, we examine the roles of blogs and Twitter in post-publication review. The controversy was initiated by a scientific article about bacteria able to substitute arsenic for phosphorus in its genetic material. We present the debate chronologically, using prominent online media to reconstruct the events. Using tweets that discussed the controversy, we conducted quantitative sentiment analysis to examine skeptical and non-skeptical tones on Twitter. Critiques of and studies refuting the arsenic life hypothesis were publicized on blogs before formal publication in traditional academic spaces and were shared on Twitter, influencing issue salience among a range of audiences...
November 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Elad Segev, Aviv J Sharon
In response to the news coverage of scientific events and to science education, people increasingly go online to get more information. This study investigates how patterns of science and technology information-seeking on Google and Wikipedia change over time, in ways that differ between "ad hoc" terms that correspond to news coverage and "cyclic" terms that correspond to the academic period. Findings show that the science and technology activity in Google and Wikipedia was significantly associated with ad hoc and cyclic patterns...
November 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska
This article explores science journalism in the context of the media competition for readers' attention. It offers a qualitative stylistic perspective on how popular journalism colonizes science communication. It examines a sample of 400 headlines collected over the period of 15 months from the ranking of five 'most-read' articles on the website of the international magazine New Scientist. Dominant lexical properties of the sample are first identified through frequency and keyness survey and then analysed qualitatively from the perspective of the stylistic projection of newsworthiness...
November 2017: Public Understanding of Science
John C Besley, Anthony Dudo, Shupei Yuan
This study looks at how United States-based academic scientists from five professional scientific societies think about eight different communication objectives. The degree to which scientists say they would prioritize these objectives in the context of face-to-face public engagement is statistically predicted using the scientists' attitudes, normative beliefs, and efficacy beliefs, as well as demographics and past communication activity, training, and past thinking about the objectives. The data allow for questions about the degree to which such variables consistently predict views about objectives...
August 1, 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Melissa L Carrion
Individuals who refuse vaccines are often painted as anti-science or ill-informed. However, drawing from interviews with 50 mothers who refused one or more vaccines ( n = 50), results from this study suggest that such depictions lack nuance and may detract from the ability of communication efforts to effectively address concerns. In particular, participants' explanations for vaccine refusal relied on paradoxical arguments about science and expertise. On one hand, participants defended the ideal of science but criticized existing research for failing to meet requisite standards...
August 1, 2017: Public Understanding of Science
Robin E Jensen, Allison N Blumling
Members of the lay public often draw from vernacular science knowledge-or metaphors, images, and terms related to technical science-to make normative assessments about behavior. Yet, little is known about vernacular science knowledge in terms of its forms and functions. In a national survey, US adults ( N = 688) were asked to identify an ideal age for first pregnancy, and to explain their decision. Participants drew from arguments related to hormonal processes, the language of risk, and the quality and quantity of "eggs" to navigate and identify an ideal timeline for first pregnancy...
August 1, 2017: Public Understanding of Science
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