Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

Spinning Science On Its Head

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyJune 1, 2007 10:26 PM
spin.JPG

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

It never ceases to amaze me how research may be portrayed through the lens of pop culture. Although I often argue that the right 'spin' in a science story allows it to appeal to broader audiences, certain efforts only leave me dizzy. Here's an example.. The Research: Dr. Benjamin Hayden at the Centre for Neuroeconomic Studies at Duke's School of Medicine published an article with his team in this month's Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Findings were relatively inconsequential, suggesting what we already know: Men place higher value in looking at the opposite sex than the ladies do. [Quick.. someone notify Flint and Hefner!] So why is this work significant? Because the research incorporates a new kind of economic methodology which may be useful with behaviors difficult to quantify like social decisions. Bravo Doc Hayden!

Pb1253.jpg

Media Circus 'Spin:' "These findings shed light on why men are much greater consumers of pornography than women and why sales of Playboy have always exceeded those of Playgirl." And with that, the good doctor was inundated with calls, gave a radio interview, and even made the very front page of the UK's Daily Telegraph! Curiously though, all this publicity, yet little mention of economic methods. Thus, the principle purpose of the Hayden et al. article was missed when the appeal of 'findings' seemed a better sell. You see, 'spin' can make or break how we perceive important research and novel ideas. It should be the responsibility of reputable media to foremost get the paramount message across in an engaging way. Besides, the real science story is usually 'sexy' enough with the right narrative. posted by Sheril R. Kirshenbaum

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In