Communicating Science

The Communicating Science workshop we did in class this week was really interesting. I wasn’t sure what to expect when we started, but what I eventually realized is that the workshop was meant to teach me how to monitor my non-verbal cues and show more of my natural enthusiasm when discussing my work. We did an interesting exercise where we went around the circle and introduced ourselves and our research, and then did it again while introducing ourselves and listing some of our hobbies. People seemed much more open, casual, and relatable when discussing their interests as opposed to retreating into their specified research bubble. There was less emphasis on choosing precisely the right words or making your work sound important or complex. It reminded me that all of us in academia have a “private” life (i.e., when we are at home in our sweatpants on the weekends) that is often very separate and different from our “public” and professional life.

The workshop helped me to reflect on the fact that I am lucky to be in psychology. I find that my work, although it requires a knowledge of jargon and appreciation of complex constructs just like any other science, is often more palatable and interesting to the general public, as most everyone has taken a personality quiz or read an article about an unusual social phenomenon at least once in their lives. At the end of the workshop, when we got a chance to practice injecting more passion into our descriptions of our research, I felt like it was relatively easy to connect my work to pop culture and get a few laughs from my audience. I imagine this would have been a more difficult exercise for those in other fields.

I’m curious about what everyone else in class thought of the workshop — share your thoughts below?

2 Comments

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2 Responses to Communicating Science

  1. Kyriakos Tsoukalas

    You mean we are feeling to that we don’t discuss our research to avoid embarrassing ourselves for not being able to communicate our research activity using simple language, which can be interpreted as lack of knowledge and inability to understand what we are supposed to be researching?

    • More so that it may be harder for the lay public to connect with complex concepts in other fields, and that I feel psychologists have an advantage in that our work is already widely dispersed in the media and of interest to many members of the public.

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