Nisbet goucher class

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Nisbet goucher class

  1. 1. Models of Science and Environmental CommunicationMatthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D.School of CommunicationAmerican UniversityWashington DC
  2. 2. The Deficit Model:The Sputnik Fable• There was a point in the past when the public was knowledgeable about science and strongly supportive. Need to return to that point in the past.
  3. 3. 1957: Is The Past That Different from Today? Science Literacy• 12% of the public understood the scientific approach or method.• On basic questions tapping knowledge of polio, fluoridation, radioactivity, and space satellites, only 1 in 6 could answer all four questions correctly.• Only 38% knew that the Moon was smaller than the Earth and only 4% could correctly indicate the distance in miles between the Moon and the Earth.Michael, D.N. (1960). The Beginning of the Space Age and Public Opinion. Public Opinion Quarterly, 573-582;Withey, S.B. (1959). Public opinion about science and scientists. Public Opinion Quarterly, 382-388.
  4. 4. 1957: Is The Past That Different from Today? Low Knowledge but Support for ScienceWithey, S.B. (1959). Public opinion about science and scientists. Public Opinion Quarterly, 382-388.
  5. 5. 1957: Is The Past That Different from Today?Perception is Reference Dependent 601957: 50Looking to thefuture, what 40would you say isthe real 30meaning ofSputnik to us 20here inAmerica? 10 0 Behind Russia, Propaganda Nothing Religious Scientific Security significant Meaning Advancement Michael, D.N. (1960). The Beginning of the Space Age and Public Opinion. Public Opinion Quarterly, 573-582;
  6. 6. 2008: Is The Past That Different from Today? Increasing Education, Low Science LiteracyNational Science Board (2008). Chapter 7: Public Attitudes about Science and Technology. Science & EngineeringIndicators.
  7. 7. 2008: Is The Past That Different from Today? Deep Public Optimism and Trust in Science • More than 70% of all American adults believe that the benefits of scientific research outweigh the harmful results. • More than 85% of Americans agree that “even if it brings no immediate benefits, scientific research that advances the frontiers of knowledge is necessary and should be supported by the federal government.” • On climate change, stem cell research, and food biotechnology, Americans believe scientists hold greater expertise, are less self interested, and should have greater say in decisions than industry leaders, elected officials, and/or religious leaders. • Among institutions, only the military has greater trust than science.Analysis of 2006 General Social Survey; National Science Board (2008). Chapter 7: Public Attitudes about Scienceand Technology. Science & Engineering Indicators.
  8. 8. Early 1990s: A Paradigm Sheep? Social Identity, Trust, and Relationships Matter The uptake Trust, credibility, and Social influence of relationships, alienation relative to science-related “expert” networks, and science- identities institutions related knowledge Practical reason, localized knowledge Filtered/mediatedBryan Wynne
  9. 9. Wynne’s Model:Common Criteria Used to Judge Experts & Institutions1) Does expert knowledge work? Do predictions fail?2) Do expert claims pay attention to other available knowledge?3) Are experts open to criticism? Admission of errors, or oversights?4) What are the social / institutional affiliations of experts? Historical track record of trustworthiness, affiliation with industry?5) What issues overlap or connect to lay experience?
  10. 10. 3. Judgments and Decisions Are Context DependentKahneman, D. (2003) In T. Frängsmyr (Ed.), Les Prix Nobel: The NobelPrizes 2002 (pp. 449-489). Stockholm, Sweden: Nobel Foundation.
  11. 11. 3. Judgments and Decisions Are Context DependentKahneman, D. (2003) In T. Frängsmyr (Ed.), Les Prix Nobel: The Nobel Prizes2002 (pp. 449-489). Stockholm, Sweden: Nobel Foundation.
  12. 12. Maine’s Energy Future:Supply or Innovation Problem?
  13. 13. Nisbet, Maibach, & Leiserowitz (2011). American Journal of Public Health.
  14. 14. Nisbet, Maibach, & Leiserowitz (2011). American Journal of Public Health.
  15. 15. Maine’s Climate Future:Environmental or Health Threat?
  16. 16. Stage 1: In-Depth Interviews w/ 70 Subjects fromSix Distinct Audience Segments (Summer 2009)Maibach, E., Nisbet, M.C. et al. (2010). BMC Public Health 10: 299.
  17. 17. Segments 4-6: Sentence Specific Reaction To Public Health Essay 10 DISENGAGED DOUBTFUL 8 6 DISMISSIVE POPULATION 4 2 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10 O1 O2 O3 O4 O5 T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 B1 B2 B3 B4 C1 C2Scores reflect respondent average values by segment for the difference between the number of timeseach of 18 sentences were marked “especially clear or helpful” and “especially confusing orunhelpful.”
  18. 18. Stage 2: Testing Environmental, National Security Frames vs. Public Health FrameMyers, T., Nisbet, M.C., Maibach, E.W., & Leiserowitz, A. (2012). A Public Health FrameArouses Hopeful Emotions about Climate Change. Climatic Change ResearchLetters, 1105-1121.
  19. 19. Stage 2: Testing Environmental, National Security Frames vs. Public Health FrameMyers, T., Nisbet, M.C., Maibach, E.W., & Leiserowitz, A. (2012). A Public Health FrameArouses Hopeful Emotions about Climate Change. Climatic Change ResearchLetters, 1105-1121.

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