Psychology Sponsors Talk on Media (Mis)Communication about Scientific Findings

Posted on 9/3/2015 10:25:03 AM

The Department of Psychology is sponsoring “From Lab Study to Lay Audience: Adventures in Science Communication” on Thursday, September 17, from 9:30–10:30 a.m. in Uhler Hall, Room 111. Brian Hughes, PhD, professor of psychology and dean of International Affairs at the National University of Ireland, Galway, will discuss how the media (mis)communicates scientific findings. 

Despite the prominence of scientists in modern society, science is frequently misunderstood by the public. The media can be unskilled, careless, or biased in their reporting of science—but media distortions can often be traced right back to scientists themselves, who can also be susceptible to ineptitude, lazy-mindedness, or subjectivity. This talk will examine some examples of science miscommunication in the public domain, the consequences (both humorous and dangerous) of this, and the ways public communication of science might be enhanced.

Brian Hughes is a professor in psychology, specializing in stress psychophysiology. His research and publications have focused on psychological stress (particularly its impact on cardiovascular psychophysiology, immunity, and health) and on psychosocial moderators of stress processes (such as social support, cognition, and personality).

Professor Hughes also writes widely on the psychology of empiricism and of empirically disputable claims, especially as they pertain to science, health, and medicine. In The Science Bit, his personal blog, he attempts to demystify science and scientists and to show how scientific ideas can be used in everyday contexts.