How to Rebuild Informed Trust in Science: Insights from Social Sciences

Saturday, 15 February 2014: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Regency A (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Many decisions in one’s personal, public, or professional spheres are based on scientific information, and advances in information technologies make access to information easy. However, ease of access forces non-experts to make informed choices about which source to trust. Non-experts can understand only at a broad level why a certain science-based knowledge claim might be true. Hence, the public has to rely on a (preferably informed) trust in science-based information and in the sources of such information. Developing informed trust is challenging because difficulties in understanding scientific information come along with the experience that establishing scientific evidence is a continuous and ongoing process, and that thereby many results as well as theories are discussed as tentative truth within the discourse of science. Even those scientific findings where a majority of scientists agree (e.g., climate change) are continuously subject to debate and all findings are, in principle, revisable. However, in the face of needing concrete answers and immediate problem solving, the evolving nature of science knowledge may lead the public to question and discount the general veracity of science information. Researchers from communication science as well as from psychology and learning sciences will discuss detrimental as well as enhancing conditions for the evolution of informed trust in science in light of fragile and conflicting scientific evidence.
Rainer Bromme, University of Muenster
Martin Storksdieck, National Research Council
Nick Allum, University of Essex; Josh Pasek, University of Michigan
What Citizens Think They Know About Science and Why It Matters
Bruce V. Lewenstein, Cornell University
The Role of Learning in Building Trust
Michaela Maier, University of Koblenz-Landau
Does it Harm Trust to Openly Communicate Scientific Uncertainty?
See more of: Behavioral and Social Sciences
See more of: Symposia