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Jan 24, 2022 Article
Beyond the Base-ics: approaches to driving connection through genetics in museums

by Abigail A. Howell, Keighley N. Reisenauer, Michelle M. Valkanas and Katherine E. Carter

Genetics literacy is crucial for making informed decisions. However, perceived complexity, educational gaps, and misleading media narratives make reaching diverse populations difficult. Interventions to improve genetics literacy beyond K—12 classrooms should center on building science trust and self-efficacy. We used a mixed methods approach to survey 12 museums with genetics content and found 3 framing devices, “Genetics is Fun,” “Genetics is Relevant,” and “Genetics is Discovery.” While each framing strategy leads to high engagement with genetics topics, these approaches differed in ways that affect ability to learn and how genetics is perceived. Exhibit creators should consider design ramifications when creating a genetics exhibit that builds genetic literacy.

Volume 21 • Issue 01 • 2022

Jan 17, 2022 Article
Participation brokers in the making: intermediaries taking up and embedding a new role at the science-society interface

by Jantien W. Schuijer, Marjoleine G. van der Meij, J. E. W. Broerse and J. F. H. Kupper

Although research has been performed on participatory mechanisms in science and technology such as brokering, little seems written on intermediary organizations, e.g. science museums, taking up and embedding a participation brokerage role and systemic factors influencing these. This paper presents a qualitative case study in which six different intermediary organizations developed their participation brokerage role in a European RRI project. We demonstrate how structuring factors in the project context, the intermediary organization and the broader systemic context influenced the participation brokerage role take-up and embedding. Our findings yield implications for future capacity building endeavors among participation brokers in the making.

Volume 21 • Issue 01 • 2022

Dec 15, 2021 Article
Experts, influencers, and amplifiers — Exploring climate movements' hyperlinking practices

by Frauke Rohden

While research shows different links between activism and science, little is known about activists engaging in science communication online. Demanding that decision-makers should “listen to the scientists”, the climate movements Fridays for Future (FFF) and Extinction Rebellion (XR) emphasize the role of scientific knowledge in democratic decision-making. Exploring the two movements' hyperlinking practices reveals a difference in the extent and selection of hyperlinks on their websites, pointing to influencer-based communication and focus on popularization of science by FFF and expert-based communication leaning on academic publications by XR, with both movements acting as amplifiers of existing science communication efforts.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Dec 13, 2021 Article
Understanding the relationship between sharing personal anecdotes, warmth, curiosity, risk perception and mitigation in communicating the threat of climate change

by Reyhaneh Maktoufi

While most Americans believes in climate change, to elicit action, communicators should use strategies to convey risks. One strategy is to cognitively engage individuals by eliciting curiosity. Previous studies have shown that individuals with higher science curiosity are more likely to perceive the risk of climate change. This study uses scientists’ act of sharing personal anecdotes to elicit curiosity and examines the effect of scientist’s traits on risk perception. Results show that anecdotes do not affect any of the variables. However, there is a positive relationship between curiosity and risk perception, and between trust in scientists and risk perception.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Dec 09, 2021 Article
Individual solutions to collective problems: the paradoxical treatment of environmental issues on Mexican and French YouTubers' videos

by Cecilia Lartigue, Guillaume Carbou and Muriel Lefebvre

The impact of human activity on our planet is undeniable. However, this matter of fact is not fully understandable without analyzing the narratives through which people make sense of it. In this study, we aim to describe the narratives present in environmental discourses of Mexican and French YouTubers' videos. This corpus is intended to show how environmental issues are framed in the ever-growing discursive arena of entertainment and “influencing” streaming video. We set out to perform a cross-country comparison, with the purpose of contributing to the discussion of whether environmental discourse is country-specific or shared by various nations and, possibly, even global. Our study contributes to the understanding of the social construction of the environment via these discourses. Our main result points to a paradoxical treatment of environmental issues: the YouTubers of our sample represent them as collectively induced problems, but seem to mainly believe that individual-based solutions would resolve them. More broadly, our study suggests a tendency to the individualization and, therefore, the depoliticization of environmental issues as well as a globalization of the environmental discourses in YouTubers' videos.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Dec 06, 2021 Article
Perceptions of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work of science journalists: global perspectives

by Luisa Massarani, Luiz Felipe Fernandes Neves, Marta Entradas, Tim Lougheed and Martin W. Bauer

The article presents the results of a survey of science journalists from six world regions about their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The responses show perception of increasing workload for most participants. Local scientists and peer-reviewed articles are the main sources. According to the respondents, scientists have become more available during the pandemic. The use of preprint articles was a frequent practice, but a considerable proportion declared they did not adopt different procedures when reporting them. Most also said they take fake news into account when writing their stories.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Nov 29, 2021 Article
Uniquely disgusting? Physiological disgust and attitudes toward GM food and other food and health technologies

by Sedona Chinn and Ariel Hasell

Despite scientific consensus that genetically modified (GM) food is safe to eat, the American public remains skeptical. This study (N=73) investigates the proposed role of disgust in driving opposition to GM food, which is debated in extant literature. Using physiological measures of disgust, alongside self-report measures, this study suggests that disgust plays a role in driving skepticism toward GM food, but not other food and health technologies. We further discuss the possible influence of risk sensitivity and perceptions of unnaturalness on attitudes toward novel science.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Nov 22, 2021 Article
Exploration of social cues in technology-mediated science communication: a multidiscipline analysis on ‘Ask Me Anything (AMA)’ sessions in Reddit r/science

by Ying Tang, Jessica M. Abbazio, Khe Foon Hew and Noriko Hara

Social cues are used to facilitate online science communication, yet little is known about how they may play a role in online public engagement with science sites. This mixed-method study investigates r/science Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions on Reddit through content analysis and an online survey to identify the types and variations of social cues manifested in six r/science AMAs across varying disciplines. The study's contributions are twofold. One is to investigate social cue uses in online science communication; the other is to develop a coding scheme for social cues that incorporates both positive and negative social cues in the analysis.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Nov 15, 2021 Article
Follow the scientists? How beliefs about the practice of science shaped COVID-19 views

by Thomas G. Safford, Emily H. Whitmore and Lawrence C. Hamilton

“Follow the science” became the mantra for responding to COVID-19 pandemic. However, for the public this also meant “follow the scientists”, and this led to uneasiness as some viewed scientists as not credible. We investigate how beliefs about the way scientists develop their findings affect pandemic-related views. Our analysis shows that beliefs about scientists' objectivity predict views regrading coronavirus-related risks, behavioral changes, and policy priorities. While political party identity also predicts views about COVID-19-related concerns, these vary by political leaders whose approaches embraced versus dismissed science-based strategies, highlighting the importance of perceptions of scientists in shaping pandemic-related attitudes and beliefs.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Nov 02, 2021 Article
The matter of complex anti-matter: the portrayal and framing of physics in Dutch newspapers

by Sanne Willemijn Kristensen, Julia Cramer, Alix McCollam, W. Gudrun Reijnierse and Ionica Smeets

Physics is often perceived as difficult, but there has been little research on how physics is reported in the media. In this two-stage content analysis, we examine the portrayal of physics in five major Dutch newspapers. Results show that astronomy and astrophysics is the most prominent field. Furthermore, newspaper articles are triggered almost equally by scientific and non-scientific events. Finally, the majority of described physics concepts are framed as difficult, but journalists do provide explanations for them.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021