Science Social Norms

Story posted September 28, 2018 in CommRadio, News by Jake Starr

UNIVERSITY PARK- Tuesday night, Sharon Dunwoody, a professor of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Wisconsin and Science Communication expert, spoke for about an hour at the Foster Auditorium on how social norms can affect people’s attitudes towards science.

Dunwoody dove into a plethora of topics, from global warming to recycling, wrapping it all around the concept of how other people’s actions can impact our decision making. Dunwoody herself spoke afterward about those social norm effects.

“Well, I think the one important thing is to know there are these social norm affects out there. And as they go through life to maybe be more aware of it because I’m not sure you want to succumb to them all.”

Dunwoody’s says her hope was that these lectures would give attendees the opportunity to be more cognizant of what they do and how it can affect those around them.

Jessica Myrick runs the school’s Science Communication Teacher Series and says that Dunwoody’s work inspired her to get involved in social norms.

“So, I am a professor in the college and I study science in communication, Sharon Dunwoody is really one of the leaders in the field so it was really helpful for me to hear her talk through her ideas after I’ve been reading her work a lot, so it really inspired me to do more research related to Social Norms.”

Dunwoody’s lecture is a part of Penn State’s Sci Comm lecture series hosted by the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.


Jake Starr is a news reporter for CommRadio. You can reach him at