Susan Jasko

(California University Pennsylvania)

The Social Construction of Reality and the Communication of Science and Weather

What GR UG Homepage Meteo Colloquium
When Mar 16, 2016
from 03:30 pm to 04:30 pm
Where 112 Walker
Contact Name Yvette Richardson
Contact email
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Susan Jasko CA University of PAIn the battle of symbolic reality versus physical reality – how do we sway the outcome? 

Human symbolic context plays a pivotal role in the co-production of meaning. However, this both facilitates and impedes the communication of technical and scientific information. This is an issue of concern in the wx enterprise in terms of the communication of severe weather, including the gaps that emerge or become critical ONLY in the case of probable/possible severe weather (a term that itself is problematic). It is useful to develop an understanding of the role of context in the co-creation of meaning, the role of ambiguity in permitting the illusion of understanding and how messages are (re)interpreted creating a disjuncture in meaning and understanding. Such an understanding can assist us in creating better messaging and more understanding among the users of weather and scientific information. 

Indeed, language both hinders and helps this effort. Hindering resides in technical terms, well understood but not articulated patterns of reasoning, shared common knowledge, sharp community borders, and the rules of academia, while language can help through an understanding of associational thinking, how metaphors work, tapping into reasoning used in everyday life, constructing messages that respect the way memory and understanding work in humans, and the role of language in communicating relational information even as we use it to convey factual information.