Scientists and their institutions are increasingly engaging with public audiences through social media. In the quest for effective communication, the use of humor has often been recommended for scientists interacting with publics. However, there is little empirical evidence that its use is effective.
Sara Yeo, assistant professor in communication, was recently awarded a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study how people respond to funny science messages on social media. Yeo and her collaborators, Leona Yi-Fan Su (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Michael Cacciatore (University of Georgia), will examine how humor in science communication about artificial intelligence, climate science and microbiomes affects people’s attitudes.
Findings from this project will be used to inform scientists’ practice of communicating with humor on social media. More information on the award can be found here.