Bias in Science and Communication
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Bias in Science and Communication

A field guide
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Matthew Welsh
IOP Expanding Physics ISSN
eBook Typ:
Adobe Digital Editions
eBook Format:
Adobe DRM [Hard-DRM]

This book is intended as an introduction to a wide variety of biases affecting human cognition, with a specific focus on how they affect scientists and the communication of science. The role of this book is to lay out how these common biases affect the specific types of judgements, decisions and communications made by scientists.
Bias is a natural outcome of our thinking patterns. The nature of our cognitive processes leads to inherent limitations, resulting in predictable biases in both our own judgements and the interpretation of our communications by the public, by policymakers and even other scientists. This book will introduce the concept of biases arising from cognitive limitations and tendencies with a focus of the implications of this for scientists in particular. It begins with an initial quiz designed to demonstrate key biases – allowing readers to look back at the responses that they provided prior to reading about specific biases and thus see, without the impact of hindsight bias, whether they were susceptible to the effects.
Part I: Introduction

1. Pop Quiz

2. Anchors Aweigh

3. On Message

Part II: Biases in Judgement and Decision Making

4. Improbable Interpretation

5. Truth Seeking? Biases in search strategies

6. Same but Different

7. I’m Confident, You’re Biased

8. Subtotal Recall

9. Angels and Demons

10. Us and Them

Part III: Implications and solutions

11. Warp and Weft

12. Felicitous Elicitation

13. A River in Egypt

Part IV: Conclusions

14. The Field Guide