Jul 2019

Jargon As A Barrier To Effective Science Communication: Evidence From Metacognition

Citations: 73

Bullock, O.M., Colon-Amill, D, Shulman, H.C., & Dixon, G.

Public Understanding of Science


In this experiment (N = 650), we examine the negative consequences of jargon on individuals’ perceptions of emerging scientific technology and aim to explain these effects. We find that the presence of jargon impairs people’s ability to process scientific information, and that this impairment leads to greater motivated resistance to persuasion, increased risk perceptions, and lower support for technology adoption. These findings suggest that the use of jargon undermines efforts to inform and persuade the public through the cognitive mechanism of metacognition.

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