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May 08, 2023 Article
The reported effects of neuroscience literacy and belief in neuromyths among parents of adolescents

by Ilona M. B. Benneker, Nikki C. Lee, Sibel Altikulaç, Chiel van der Veen, Lydia Krabbendam and Nienke van Atteveldt

Neuroscience research has increased our understanding of brain development, but little is known about how parents of adolescents engage with this neuroscientific information. Dutch parents completed a digital survey on neuromyths, neuroscience literacy and views of the adolescent brain and behaviour. These parents believed 44.7% of neuromyths and showed reasonable neuroscience literacy (79.8%). Stronger neuromyth belief predicted a more negative view on adolescent brain development. About 68% of the parents reported that they had changed their parenting behaviour based on their understanding of neuroscientific findings. These self-reported changes most often reflected changes to parents' own behaviour. The results of this study underline the importance for scientists and parents to engage in scientific activities to promote respectful and trusting relationships between them. These relationships have the potential to make communication about adolescent brain development between scientists and parents more effective and will empower parents to use correct information as a basis for their decisions around raising their adolescents.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

Apr 24, 2023 Article
Exploring the brand of science: implications for science communication research and practice

by Todd P. Newman and Becca Beets

Research on branding seeks to uncover the emotional, sensory, and cognitive meanings when a person first encounters an object, person, or idea. This exploratory study uncovers how these meanings apply in the context of science, and why a branding framework is important for science communication theory and practice. Reporting on survey data collected in April and June 2021, our results suggest a consistent functional brand image for science, yet a more nuanced context for how different branding constructs relate to science.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

Apr 17, 2023 Article
Who are “we”? Examining relational ethos in British Columbia, Canada's COVID-19 public health communication

by Philippa Spoel, Alexandra Millar, Naomi Lacelle and Aarani Mathialagan

This paper investigates the multiple meanings and functions of the pronoun “we” in COVID-19 public updates by British Columbia's acclaimed Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in 2020. Our rhetorical case study shows how “we” contributes to Henry's relational ethos by attempting to foster a communal identity with her implied audience while also distinguishing public health expertise, actions, and authority from citizens' knowledge and actions. Ambiguous uses of “we” blur the line between the knowledge and responsibilities of “we” in public health and “we” as citizens. Overall, our rhetorical analysis demonstrates the significant but ambivalent role this pronoun can play in building relations of social trust among citizens, experts, and institutions within public health and science communication contexts and it suggests the importance of judicious pronoun usage when communicators strive to foster these relations.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

Apr 11, 2023 Article
Support for COVID-19 mandatory vaccination in the United States: examining the role of cultural worldviews, risk-benefit perceptions, and trust in scientists

by Yuan Wang, John Leach, Jiyoun Kim and Saymin Lee

This study sets out to understand the role of cultural worldviews, risk perceptions, and trust in scientists in impacting U.S. participants' support for COVID-19 mandatory vaccination. Results from an online survey (“N” = 594) suggest that stronger individualistic and hierarchical worldviews are associated with more perceived COVID-19 vaccination risks, less perceived COVID-19 vaccination benefits, and lower support for COVID-19 mandatory vaccination. Perceived benefits mediate the impact of cultural worldviews on support for COVID-19 mandatory vaccination. Trust in scientists moderates the relationship between cultural worldviews and perceived benefits of COVID-19 vaccination. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

Apr 03, 2023 Article
Socioscientific issues in science exhibitions: examining contributions of the informal science education sector

by Ana Maria Navas Iannini

This paper examines how a particular subset of informal science education settings — science exhibitions — embraces contemporary socioscientific issues (SSI) and fosters public engagement with them. A qualitative cross-case analysis of two SSI exhibitions about teen pregnancy (Brazil) and sustainability (Canada) was conducted. It revealed complex issues around operational funding, and institutional tensions related to the nature, balance, and relevance of the topics displayed. The analysis unravelled opportunities for SSI exhibits to engage with contextualized and situated knowledge; articulate the deficit model with other models of science communication; and consider visitors as agents of change.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

Mar 20, 2023 Article
Citizen science and participatory science communication: an empirically informed discussion connecting research and theory

by Paolo Giardullo, Federico Neresini, Esther Marín-González, Cristina Luís, Joana Magalhães and Rosa Arias

Citizen Science is believed to contribute significantly to the democratisation of science, engaging non-scientists in scientific research. Participatory approaches to science communication share the same interest through public participation and public engagement. In the attempt to connect these two debates both theoretically and empirically, we provide an analysis of the communication tools and strategies used by 157 Citizen Science projects across the EU, UK, and Switzerland. Our analysis reports that the CS projects surveyed tend to interpret communication as a disseminating activity, rather than as a tool to promote appropriate communication-based encounters with both project participants and other potential target audiences.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

Mar 13, 2023 Article
Fictional scenarios, real concerns: science fiction and perceptions of human genome editing

by April A. Eichmeier, Luye Bao, Michael A. Xenos, Dominique Brossard and Dietram A. Scheufele

This research addresses the association between attention to science fiction and public opinion of human genome editing (HGE). Using a nationally representative survey, our results show that attention to science fiction is associated with both risk and benefit perception of the technology. In addition, results show that, at higher levels of attention to science fiction, the levels of concern from conservatives (ordinarily predisposed to negative views toward science) and from liberals (ordinarily predisposed to positive views toward science) come closer to being the same. This research contributes to our understanding of debates about controversial science.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Feb 20, 2023 Article
“There really is a lot of shared understanding, but there are also differences”: identity configurations in science communicators' professional identity

by Liliann Fischer and Hannah Schmid-Petri

Science communication is a relatively new field of practice, shaped by a diverse group of professional science communicators and the way they make sense of their work. A distinguishing feature of these professional science communicators is the organisational context they work in. Based on a typology from an organisational theory framework, this study explores the perspectives of 15 German science communicators through qualitative interviews. It seems that while they tend to draw on a common set of building blocks, they use them to construct individual professional identity configurations partly influenced by their organisational context.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Feb 08, 2023 Article
Spokespersons for science: examining social media influencers' popularization of controversial technologies on YouTube

by Jiemin Looi and Shirley S. Ho

An online experiment involving 251 Singaporeans assessed how social media influencers' (SMIs) prototypicality (i.e., embodiment of group attitudes) and social attraction affected their popularization of nuclear energy development. Participants exposed to a SMI with high prototypicality perceived the YouTube video more favorably, displayed greater intention to share the YouTube video, and possessed greater attitude intensity toward nuclear energy development. Participants displayed greater intention to share the YouTube video when the SMI had high social attraction and possessed moderate to high prototypicality. Conversely, participants displayed less intention to share the YouTube video when the SMI had low social attraction and prototypicality.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Jan 25, 2023 Article
Science knowledge and trust in science in biodiversity citizen science projects

by Baptiste Bedessem, Anne Dozières, Anne-Caroline Prévot and Romain Julliard

Citizen science projects are valued for their impact on participants' knowledge, attitude and behavior towards science. In this paper, we explore how participation in biodiversity citizen science projects is correlated to different dimensions of trust in science. We conduct a quantitative study through an online survey of 1,199 individuals, 586 of them being part of a biodiversity citizen science program in France. Our results suggest that participation-related trust is more exhaustive — it covers more dimensions of the scientific endeavor — than education-related trust. This exploratory study calls for more empirical research on the links between citizen science and the different dimensions of public trust in science.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023