O.P. Recommends: Your Brain on the Scientific Method

Old Medicine Bottles, PublicDomain via Wikimedia CommonsIn ‘Your Brain on the Scientific Method‘, Sara E. and Jack M. Gorman open with a discussion of John Oliver’s recent takedown of scientific sensationalism in the media and its negative impact on the public’s understanding of science and its methods. Just about every day, it seems, there’s a study that comes out which reveals that things science said were bad are actually good for you and vice versa; that some foodstuff, familiar or exotic, was just discovered to be the ‘miracle cure’ for something or other;  some new report or yet another scientist will come out either proving or disproving human-caused climate change; and so on.

But there’s a lot more to the story of public misunderstanding of science, the authors say: the reason we often have trouble understanding science and its methods is the same reason why scientific sensationalism is so effective: science is so contrary to the way our brains generally, instinctively work. Find out why in this excellent piece…

Gorman, Sara E. and Jack M. ‘Your Brain on the Scientific Method‘. Oxford University Press blog, May 17th 2016.

Scientific Studies‘. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, HBO, May 8th 2016.

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