Shulman and Dixon Publish Study on Jargon

August 28, 2019
Hillary Shulman Headshot Cropped

Assistant professors Hillary Shulman, Graham Dixon and graduate students Olivia Bullock and Daniel Colon Amill co-authored an article published in the Public Understanding of Science

The article investigates the unintended consequences of jargon on people's acceptance of scientific technology.

The researchers found that when descriptions of technology included scientific jargon, participants reported that the technologies in question seemed riskier. In addition, participants were more likely to argue against and refute the information provided, and they reported less support of these technologies, compared to the condition where jargon was replaced with simpler terms. 

This experiment shows the effects of complicated language extend beyond misunderstanding and can affect people's feelings towards a particular topic.

Read the full article PDF: Jargon as a barrier to effective science communication: Evidence from metacognition.pdf