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Transmission and transformation of scientific information

 

Speakers Eva Green (University of Lausanne) & Adrian Bangerter (University of Neuchâtel)

How do people understand, interpret, and describe the scientific discoveries they learn about through the media each day? In this talk, we begin by reviewing convergences among social psychological approaches such as social representations theory and rumour research that help understand the transmission and transformation of scientific information among laypersons. A paradigm that has been used to simulate processes of information transmission is the method of serial reproduction (Barlett, 1932).

After reviewing relevant research using this method, we presented a set of studies investigating the role of position in a communication chain and the impact of attitudes towards genetics on transmission of a scientific discovery. A communication chain was experimentally simulated to study the language people use to account for a genetic discovery first published in a scientific outlet, then reported \in a mainstream newspaper and finally discussed by laypeople. Finally, large-scale transmission of scientific information for example through the mass media will be discussed.

Dr. Eva G.T. Green is a senior researcher in social psychology at the Research Centre for Methodology, Inequalities and Social Change, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Her research interests include prejudice and scientific communication among lay people. Her current research focuses on the impact of threat perceptions on cultural diversity attitudes.

Adrian Bangerter is professor of work psychology at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. His research focuses on coordination in collaborative work, discourse and conversation analysis of task-related communication, social interaction and recruiter practices in selection interviews, interplay of language and non-verbal communication (gesture), and social representations and popular beliefs


Public reactions to emerging infectious diseases Adrian Bangerter (University of Neuchâtel), Eva Green (University of Lausanne) and the DPPEID Research Group

Abstract:

Many emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) in recent years have been announced well in advance of the actual threat. Some have yet to materialize (H5N1 avian influenza), while other have since attained pandemic status (H1N1). This state of affairs creates a unique opportunity to document anticipatory reactions of the public. Drawing on social representations and evolutionary approaches, we have explored the social construction of disease threat and the symbolic nature of public reactions to threat, we have explored lay explanations and beliefs about risk, origins, prevention and transmission of avian influenza and the H1N1 virus. We are especially interested in the effect of disease threat on intergroup relations and on beliefs about the man-made origin of the disease. In this talk, we will give an overview of our research program before presenting data on links between disease threat and intergroup discrimination, as well as on how the media context affects these relationships. Preliminary analyses of data from the ongoing H1N1 pandemic will also be presented.

Bios:

Dr. Eva G.T. Green is a senior researcher in social psychology at the Research Centre for Methodology, Inequalities and Social Change, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Her research interests include prejudice and scientific communication among lay people. Her current research focuses on the impact of threat perceptions on cultural diversity attitudes.

Adrian Bangerter is professor of work psychology at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. His research focuses on coordination in collaborative work, discourse and conversation analysis of task-related communication, social interaction and recruiter practices in selection interviews, interplay of language and non-verbal communication (gesture), and social representations and popular beliefs.

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