Over the past decade, a parallel science has emerged that has direct and practical relevance to improving individual and societal understanding of—and decision-making about—matters related to weather, water and climate change: the science of science communication. Through its Sackler Colloquium Series, and through special issues of PNAS, the National Academies of Science has played an important role in fostering the development of this new science.
To make important insights from scientific evidence most useful to individuals and society, it helps to design that information—or brief statements about the information sometimes referred to as “messages”—to be as acceptable, memorable, actionable and sharable as possible. Information must be deemed acceptable before it will be initially considered. Memorable information is more likely to be recalled and considered at times when it has potential value to citizens and policymakers. Sharable information is more likely to spread from person-to-person through social networks and become widely known throughout society. Actionable information is more likely to lead to decisions and subsequent actions that improve outcomes and enhance human wellbeing.
In this presentation, we will summarize some key findings from the science of science communication about how to make important science-based information more acceptable, memorable, sharable and actionable.