Science/Tech

Use Of Jargon Makes People Less Interested In Science, Study Finds

Scientist in lab
A look at the series of disturbing and famous social experiments conducted throughout the 20th century. Pexels, Public Domain

According to a new study, people get less interested in science when scientists and others use their jargons and other specialized terms while communicating with the general public. In fact, the effects are much worse than just making what they’re saying quite hard to understand.

Specialized Jargons Lead To Loss Of Interest In The General Public

Recently published online in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology, the findings found that in addition to loss of interest from the general public, people are also less likely to think that they are good at science, felt less informed about science and felt less qualified to discuss science topics, which can lead to more problems and a bigger rift between them and the scientific community.

In fact, it also made no difference if these jargons were defined at all because readers felt just as disengaged as those who read jargons that haven’t been explained.

The problem, per Hillary Shulman, lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University, is that the mere presence of jargons is enough to drive away people from actually engaging or getting interested.

"The use of difficult, specialized words are a signal that tells people that they don't belong. You can tell them what the terms mean, but it doesn't matter. They already feel like that this message isn't for them," Shulman said.

Per Shulman, this new study is the latest in a series that she and her colleagues are working on, which explores the role of complex language in politics and science and how it can deter people from engaging.

"We have found that when you use more colloquial language when talking to people about issues like immigration policy, they report more interest in politics, more ability to understand political information and more confidence in their political opinions," she noted.

After conducting the study, the team was able to come up with conclusive results, including the fact that using complex terms turns people away.

"Exposure to jargon led people to report things like 'I'm not really good at science,' 'I'm not interested in learning about science,' and 'I'm not well qualified to participate in science discussions,'" Shulman added.

Scientist in lab A look at the series of disturbing and famous social experiments conducted throughout the 20th century. Pexels, Public Domain

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