Annenberg Public Policy Center Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson gave a presentation on “Countering Misuses of Scientific Findings” at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and five of the policy center’s postdoctoral fellows in the Science of Science Communication presented posters of their research.
Jamieson’s presentation was part of the panel “Going Public: How Science Communicators Can Break Through the Noise,” organized by Arthur Lupia of the University of Michigan, along with Jamieson. Jamieson looked at the misuse of science through examples, including false claims by former Rep. Michele Bachmann that the HPV vaccine is linked to mental retardation and by presidential candidate Donald Trump linking vaccines with autism. Jamieson discussed ways to improve the public understanding of and engagement with science.
The postdoctoral fellows who presented posters at the 2016 meeting in Washington in February were:
- Heather Akin: “Lessons from Cosmos 2.0: The Pitfalls of Popularizing Science Beyond the Proverbial Choir.” Akin’s study analyzes who among the U.S. public was actually watching the reboot of Cosmos, starring astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and whether the show succeeded in capturing the diverse audience it sought. With APPC Visiting Scholar Dietram A. Scheufele, APPC Distinguished Research Fellow Bruce Hardy, and others.
- Katy Barnhart: “Impact of Orbital Changes on Hillslope Geomorphology.” Barnhart and a University of Colorado-Boulder colleague studied the effect of Earth’s orbital parameters on producing and moving soil in regions subject to freezing and thawing in order to predict aspects of the sedimentary record.
- Joseph Hilgard: “The Overestimation of Violent-Video-Game Effects in Experiments.” Hilgard and University of Missouri researchers re-examined a meta-analysis of studies of violent video games to determine whether effects have been exaggerated.
- Asheley R. Landrum: “Curiosity, Culture, and Engagement with Science Documentaries.” Landrum and others, including APPC Visiting Scholar Dan M. Kahan of Yale University, measured and studied the engagement of people with varying beliefs on evolution and different levels of science curiosity with a science documentary about evolution.
- Nan Li, Joseph Hilgard: “Even the Pope Has Difficulty Convincing Conservative Catholics of Climate Change.” Nationally representative phone surveys conducted before and after the release of the Pope’s encyclical on climate change were used to examine how the encyclical influenced public opinion on climate change. With APPC Managing Director of Survey Research Ken Winneg, APPC Visiting Scholar Dietram A. Scheufele, and APPC Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson.