A thoughtful persons writes,
Thanks for this study [on "Motivated Numeracy & Enlightened Self-Government."
So, what? As a consumer of your work (rather than as a fellow academic and/or peer reviewer), I need to know how to use it. I'm a journalist and world citizen. The insights you provide join others that say that people, no matter how ignorant or how lackadaisical toward subjects of common interest, would rather fight than switch, that American political party affiliation is bound so closely to our self-identification that we will assert it and defend it irrationally. Stuff like that.
Please don't tell me it's not your job to write a "therefore" codicil. I know that, but outside the boundaries of academia there's a natural impulse when confronting potentially useful information to wonder how best to use it. I'm among those guys.
Thanks for the note.
1. Long, less interesting: I and my collaborators have done studies & written papers that try to address the "what is to be done?" question once one accepts (if one does; the matter certainly remains open, and in need of more investigation) that the source of the "science communication problem" isn't any defect in the public's knowledge or reasoning ability but rather the contamination of the science communication environment with toxic partisan meanings that disable their normally reliable ability to figure out what's known by science. Some conjecture on possible strategies for decontaminating the science communication enviornment; others test one or another of these; and still others say how to go about identifying possible #scicomm environment protection strategies (by evidence-based means, of course). A sampling...
- Making Climate Science Communication Evidence-based—All the Way Down
- Cultural Cognition as a Conception of the Cultural Theory of Risk
- Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus
- Fixing the Communications Failure
- Fear of Democracy: A Cultural Evaluation of Sunstein on Risk
- Geoengineering and the Science Communication Environment: A Cross-Cultural Experiment
- Who Fears the HPV Vaccine, Who Doesn't, and Why? An Experimental Study
2. Shorter, more urgent. You tell me!
Seriously. You are a professional communicator with a wealth of experienced-informed knowledge about how to communication what to whom. I'm clueless. I don't do science communication; I study it. But b/c I study it -- empirically -- I think I can supply you with information of genuine consequence. A study like this tries to identify which of the many many plausible accounts of what is going on is truly the source of the problem & which not; it does that by creating a model from which the cacophony of influences that exist in any particular setting are more-or-less stripped away so that we can reliably observe & manipulate cognitive mechanisms of interest. Well, here you go then. Here's what I see; it's this ("of coruse; obviously!") & not that (something that appeared just as obvious; this is the nub of the problem, of course). Now that you have more reason to believe that this is what's going on, surely you, as someone with a wealth of experienced-informed knowledge who understands all the things I stripped out of my model, can identify somewhere between 50 & 10,000 things that might engage this genuinely consequential mechanism that the study identified! Realize, however, that although they are all "obvious" only some will genuinely reproduce in the field things that I (or others doing what I do) can manage to do in the lab. However, that I can help you with. Pick 1 or 2 or 3 of the things you think will engage the mechanisms I've identified in a constructive way, and I'll measure what happens & give you more information ....
But you tell me; it's your move.
Your fellow citizen (of the Liberal Republic of Science),