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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Aug 20;110 Suppl 3:14040-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1213275110. Epub 2013 Aug 12.

Communicating science in social settings.

Author information

1
Department of Life Sciences Communication, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA. scheufele@gmail.com

Abstract

This essay examines the societal dynamics surrounding modern science. It first discusses a number of challenges facing any effort to communicate science in social environments: lay publics with varying levels of preparedness for fully understanding new scientific breakthroughs; the deterioration of traditional media infrastructures; and an increasingly complex set of emerging technologies that are surrounded by a host of ethical, legal, and social considerations. Based on this overview, I discuss four areas in which empirical social science helps clarify intuitive but sometimes faulty assumptions about the social-level mechanisms of science communication and outline an agenda for bench and social scientists--driven by current social-scientific research in the field of science communication--to guide more effective communication efforts at the societal level in the future.

KEYWORDS:

communication theory; journalism; mass media; public opinion

PMID:
23940341
PMCID:
PMC3752169
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1213275110
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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