APPC Speaker Series (2016-2017)

The Annenberg Public Policy Center is hosting a speaker series to engage with scholars, practitioners and policymakers in fields that are relevant to the policy center’s work, including the science of science communication, political communication, adolescent health, and children and media. The series is invitation-only.

Richard Harris, National Public Radio

“Rigor Mortis”: Addressing the Problems of Rigor and Reproducibility in Biomedical Research: Award-winning journalist Richard Harris has been a science correspondent at NPR since 1986. He’s covered all areas of science, environment and medicine and has traveled to all seven continents, primarily for his extensive climate change reporting. “Rigor Mortis,” Harris’ first book, explores the many reasons for the increasing concern that many biomedical findings from one lab can’t be reproduced in another. His talk goes through the causes of this issue (including funding pressures, the hyper-competitive environment and questionable incentive structure, and scientific shortcuts), and looks at work being done to make biomedical research a more effective source for new treatments and cures.

Ken Bollen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Myths About Measurement, Causality, and Structural Equation Models: Ken Bollen is a professor in the Departments of Psychology & Neuroscience and Sociology at UNC at Chapel Hill, as well as head of the Methods Core and a Fellow at the Carolina Population Center at UNC. His current research is on the development of statistical methodology for the social and behavioral sciences. In his talk, he reviews myths about structural equation models (SEMs) with the goal of clarifying the power and limits of SEMs, which are a common tool used to analyze social, behavioral, marketing, and health data.

Joe Simmons, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Life After P-Hacking: Joe Simmons is an associate professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has two primary areas of research: Exploring the psychology of judgment and decision-making, and identifying easy-to-adopt research practices that improve the integrity of published findings. His talk discusses P-hacking, the practice of conducting many analyses on the same dataset until one achieves a reportable, statistically significant result (p<.05), and its effects.

William K. Hallman, Rutgers University

The Psychology of Food Risks: William K. Hallman is a professor and Chair of the Department of Human Ecology and former Director of the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He is a visiting scholar at APPC for 2016-2017. An expert in risk perception and risk communication, he has written extensively on food safety, food security, and public perceptions of controversial issues concerning food, technology, health, and the environment. Using examples from a diverse set of research projects involving public perceptions of food risks, his lecture explores factors that make communicating about food risks so difficult.

Richard Shiffrin, Indiana University

Reproducibility and Integrity of Science: Problems, Solutions, and Problems of Solutions: Richard Shiffrin is a Distinguished Professor and Luther Dana Waterman Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University. Shriffin discusses the recent focus on reproducibility in scientific publications, written about by scientists, science writers, and lay people alike. In his talk, he reviews the problems, causes, potential solutions, why some remedies will make things worse rather than better, why science works despite the present problem, and how the scientific community is moving forward to improve matters.

Dolores Albarracín, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Communication and Thought for Action: Dolores Albarracín is a professor of Psychology and Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and former Martin Fishbein Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. In her lecture, Albarracín discusses how we think and communicate about action, as well as the implications of these processes for behavioral enactment, reviewing three domains of findings from her research on action and inaction: a) judgment, b) communication, and c) choice architecture.