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Dan Kahan Courses & Materials (Select)

 

The Science of Science Communication. The simple dissemination of valid scientific knowledge does not guarantee it will be recognized by nonexperts to whom it is of consequence. The science of science communication is an emerging, multidisciplinary field that investigates the processes that enable ordinary citizens to form beliefs consistent with the best available scientific evidence, the conditions that impede the formation of such beliefs, and the strategies that can be employed to avoid or ameliorate such conditions. This seminar will survey, and make a modest attempt to systematize, the growing body of work in this area. Special attention will be paid to identifying the distinctive communication dynamics of the diverse contexts in which nonexperts engage scientific information, including electoral politics, governmental policymaking, and personal health decision making. (Offered at Yale University in Spring 2013).

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Information & topics
Session 1: HPV vaccine case study  
                 a. Reading list   b. Online discussion
Session 2: Science literacy
                 a. Reading list   b. Online discussion
Session 3: Science atttitudes
                 a. Reading list   b. Online discussion
Session 4: Democratic decisionmaking, pt. 1    
                 a. Reading list   b. Online discussion
Session 5: Democratic decisionmaking, pt. 2    
                 a. Reading list  b. Online discussion
Session 6: Emerging technologies, pt. 1
                 a. Reading list  b. Online discussion
Session 7: Emerging technologies, pt 2
                 a. Reading list  b. Online discussion
Session 8: Comprehending & communicating probability, pt. 1
                 a. Reading list   b. Online discussion 
Session 9: Comprehending & communicating probability, pt. 2
                 a. Reading list   b. Online discussion  
Session 10 & 11: Communicating science to professionals (including ones trained in science disciplines!)
                 a. Reading list   b. Online discussion
Session 12: Popular science communication 1: Science journalism
                 a. Reading list   b. Online discussion
Session 13: Popular science communication 2: Science documentaries
                a. Reading list   b. Online discussion

 Law & Cognition. The goal of this seminar will be to deepen participants' understanding of how legal decisionmakers--particularly judges and juries--think. We will compile an in-depth catalog of empirically grounded frameworks, including ones founded in behavioral economics, social psychology, and political science; relate these to historical and contemporary jurisprudential perspectives, such as "formalism," "legal realism," and the "legal process school"; and develop critical understandings of the logic and presuppositions of pertinent forms of proof--controlled experiments, observational studies, and neuroscience imaging, among others. Students will write short response papers on weekly readings. (Offered at Harvard Law School in Fall 2011.)

Information & reading list
Readings

Neuroscience & Law. Neuroscience has made substantial recent advances in identifying regions of the brain associated with different aspects of decisionmaking and behavior. The goal of this seminar is to examine the significance of this research for law.  We will progress through a series of topics designed to acquaint us with the basic methods, assumptions, and findings to date of neuroscience and decisionmaking research; to familiarize ourselves with existing and developing criticisms of this line of work; and to explore its potential application in a variety of legal and regulatory domains. (Offered at Yale Law School in Fall 2009, Profs. Huang & Kahan)

Information & reading list
Readings

Cognition & Law: Reading Group. The goal of this reading group is to supply you with a “sampler” of works that exemplify distinct theoretical frameworks (broadly conceived) for predicting and influencing the perceptions of legal decisionmakers (primarily judges and juries). (Offered at Harvard Law School in Spring 2009)

Information & reading list
Readings