Communicating Science, Fast and Slow:
A Strategy for Being Heard
Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, in his 2011 book “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” describes a dichotomy between two modes of thought: one is fast, instinctive and emotional; the other, slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The two modes coexist in the brain, often dividing tasks according to their respective strengths—but not always.
What happens when a scientist tries to present deliberative, logical evidence to a listener who is making fast, instinctive and emotional decisions about whether to accept that evidence? Miscommunication is the result, along with—in the extreme case—learned distrust of science. Therefore, scientists and science communicators must learn to reach their listeners at both levels—not an intuitive task for professionals trained in logical, evidence-based decision making.
In this 60-minute session, participants will learn how to be strategic about targeting the fast, “System 1” thinking in order to engage the deliberative skills of “System 2.” They will pick up tactics for making a quick, favorable connection without sacrificing scientific integrity. They will practice using tools which they can employ in their writing, presentations, and even conversational settings.
Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to…
- Recognize “System 1” and “System 2” thinking and describe key differences
- Describe and use a communication strategy that takes the two systems into account
- Demonstrate a proven verbal technique for quick engagement
Attendees will leave this session with a newfound confidence in their ability to connect with an audience and gain the results they are looking for—whether that be funding, collaboration, or simply expanding awareness of their field. The techniques acquired here are useful not only for scientists, but also for engineers and other technical professionals.