Using narratives and storytelling to communicate science with nonexpert audiences
Although storytelling often has negative connotations within science, narrative formats of communication should not be disregarded when communicating science to nonexpert audiences. Narratives offer increased comprehension, interest, and engagement. Nonexperts get most of their science information from mass media content, which is itself already biased toward narrative formats. Narratives are also intrinsically persuasive, which offers science communicators tactics for persuading otherwise resistant audiences, although such use also raises ethical considerations. Future intersections of narrative research with ongoing discussions in science communication are introduced.
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Author contributions: M.F.D. wrote the paper.
The author declares no conflict of interest.
This paper results from the Arthur M. Sackler Colloquium of the National Academy of Sciences, "The Science of Science Communication II," held September 23–25, 2013, at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. The complete program and video recordings of most presentations are available on the NAS website at www.nasonline.org/science-communication-II.
This article is a PNAS Direct Submission. D.A.S. is a guest editor invited by the Editorial Board.