December 22, 2015 – from MPSA - Midwest Political Science Association
I discuss how political contexts ostensibly hinder the communication of science. I then demonstrate how these “hindrances” can be addressed. But, should they be addressed? How do we define effective scientific communication? Science can play a critical role in the making of public policy. Yet, it only does so if it can be effectively communicated to citizens and policy-makers. In this presentation, I demonstrate three features of the current political environment – media saturation, partisan polarization, and the politicization of science – generate preference formation processes that are often deemed undesirable. I then discuss ways in which one can counteract these dynamics; however, I conclude by asking a larger question: what are the criteria for assessing whether the processing of scientific information generates “better” or “worse” preferences?