The cultural side of science communication

Douglas L. Medin*, Megan Bang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

The main proposition of this paper is that science communication necessarily involves and includes cultural orientations. There is a substantial body of work showing that cultural differences in values and epistemological frameworks are paralleled with cultural differences reflected in artifacts and public representations. One dimension of cultural difference is the psychological distance between humans and the rest of nature. Another is perspective taking and attention to context and relationships. As an example of distance, most (Western) images of ecosystems do not include human beings, and European American discourse tends to position human beings as being apart from nature. Native American discourse, in contrast, tends to describe humans beings as a part of nature. We trace the correspondences between cultural properties of media, focusing on children's books, and cultural differences in biological cognition. Finally, implications for both science communication and science education are outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13621-13626
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume111
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 16 2014

Keywords

  • Culture
  • Lay epistemologies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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