How science communication illuminates the darkness

It is necessary to learn about the latest developments in the scientific world, which is one of the sine qua non conditions of scientific communication, from scientists and experts. I share important scientific research on this subject every Saturday on my Youtube channel.

It is important that scientists explain their work in an understandable way. It should be noted that the so-called experts use communication techniques well and resort to methods of management and manipulation of perception.

Let’s take a closer look at how the management and manipulation of perception is done in science communication.

Through perception management techniques, the target audience becomes open to leading and doing as they are told. This causes a community that does not think and only does what it sees and hears. In perception management; Different techniques such as persuasion, propaganda, manipulation and strategic communication can be used effectively.

The best way to combat perception management is to incorporate critical thinking techniques into our lives. This method allows you to find false information that has been said.

The most basic step in critical thinking is to question and ask questions. Therefore, approach every piece of information that comes your way by asking questions. Get into this habit first so you can light up your surroundings.

Joseph Nye, professor of international relations at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, says; “If we can make our enemy think like us, we won’t have to fight.” So-called experts work to make people think like themselves. They recount the events and deal with the process experienced by an exemplary person. They prefer to appeal to emotions rather than present evidence.
When someone tells you a story, asking questions immediately out of curiosity helps you avoid being manipulated. It all starts with one person and we can evolve into a more conscious society.

Secret methods of persuasion

The desire to conform to the majority is one of the most sensitive points to convince. I will illustrate this with the examples that Jonah Berger gives in his book Secret Persuasion.

Muzaffer Şerif, one of the founding pioneers of social psychology, explained how and how individuals are affected by groups in his book, The Psychology of Social Norms. He studied the so-called autokinetic effect, how much people care about what others say when they are unsure.

Solomon Asch, for his part, carried out the Asch experiment in the continuity of this one, showing the importance of the influence of their environment in the decision-making process of people. Two cards were shown to all participants in the experiment. These cards had 3 rows of different sizes. On the other card, there was only one line. Subjects were asked which of the lines on this card resembled the lines on the other card.

In the experiment, all but one of the participants were Asch’s assistants and performed predetermined behaviors. The purpose of the experiment was to find out to what extent the behavior of the real subject was influenced by other subjects.

All subjects answered correctly on the first attempts. But then the participants, except for the real subject, started giving wrong answers. 32% of real subjects who had their turn to respond agreed with the group’s response, even if it was wrong.

In other words, even if a large group has collectively chosen the wrong path, it’s important that you stick to your own logic. Always ask questions and look for reliable sources. Also, remember that emotional stories have the power of persuasion. Numerical data and reliable evidence are always useful.

The art of detecting hype

At this point, the importance of science communication and science literacy takes on even more importance. I’d like to elaborate a bit more by quoting “The Art of Detecting the Hype” from Carl Sagan’s book The Candlelight of Science in a Dark World, which I read years ago about combating pseudoscience.

Here are the paths you should briefly follow, according to Sagan:

1. Whenever possible, “facts” should be independently verified.
2. There is a need to encourage all knowledgeable people of differing opinions to engage in oral discussion of the evidence.
3. Arguments from authority don’t matter, “authorities” have made mistakes in the past. They will also be in the future. In other words, there is no authority in science; There are most experts.
4. It is necessary to focus on more than one hypothesis. Don’t just chase after the first idea that excites you.
5. Try not to get too attached to a hypothesis because it belongs to you.
6. Quantify as much as possible.
7. If there is a chain of arguments, each link in the chain must prove its validity.
8. Occam’s razor; Faced with two hypotheses that describe the data well with the same value, choose the simpler explanation.
9. Ask if the hypothesis is falsifiable, at least in principle. So is it testable? Can others repeat the experience and get the same result?
10. Perform control experiments. In particular, in experiments carried out with the “double-blind” method, the person carrying out the measurements does not know which group is the control group and which is the experimental group.
11. Look at confounding factors, separate variables.

There will be very important developments in science communication in the coming days. In this process, approaching with a more conscious and critical point of view will protect you and your loved ones from harm. I wish good developments informed by real science and scientists.

stay with science
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