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Regardless of their professional titles, those who communicate about science with non-specialists are communicators (among other things). Familiarity with findings of communication science can therefore be an advantage. A model for “nonpersuasive communication” will be presented, which is very compatible with the communication that Sea Grant traditionally engages in. Nonpersuasive communication derives from research in decision making and depends on understanding the mental models that decision makers have. The methods of empirical research to discover these mental models include open-ended interviews, focus groups, and surveys. The use of these methods recently by Oregon Sea Grant to assist coastal communities prepare for climate change will be highlighted.

Speaker Bio

A science communicator by profession, Joe Cone has used a range of approaches to arouse non-specialists’ interest and understanding and enable constructive actions based on science. With Oregon Sea Grant since 1983, he’s written popular science books, edited books and newsletters, produced and edited documentary films and videos, and more recently has focused on communication research. In that role, he’s led both community-oriented projects and written peer-reviewed publications (for example, he’s the PI of two projects funded by the NOAA Climate Program Office in 2007-09 and 2009-11). In addition to his role as assistant director and communications leader of Oregon Sea Grant, he serves as adjunct faculty in the Oregon State University College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences and the OSU Science and Math Education Department.
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Funding provided by the Climate Program Office, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration to the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.
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