PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


The media functions of informational pictures in science communication

Lutz Peschke  

Today many people are not interested in science as they don't understand the subject. Therefore suitable media have to be created to attract the people for science. Science communication is a process of fuzzification: Sharp terms of the scientific world will be converted to fuzzy terms of the everyday world. According to the approaches of Schütz and Böhme, the level of that scientific world is very high, when it is compared to the level of the everyday world. The public has to invest a high amount of activation energy to start the process of understanding. The task of useful media is, to reduce the difference between the level of the scientific world and the level of the everyday world. As a result the needed activation energy will decrease. Besides this catalytic function, media has a transmitter and a carrier function in the process of public understanding of science. Since the social media dominate the mediatized communication of the digital age, visual media like pictures, images and diagrams, which are classified as informational pictures, get an increasing importance in knowledge transfer and science communication. Today, information has to be communicated in a quick way and as simple as possible. A survey of Mokros and Tinker brought up, that learners often believe that the content of informational pictures can be caught with one view. The consequence is that the users often process the content of an informational picture in a superfacial way. In this paper a survey about the media functions of informational pictures in the process of science communication will be presented, besides the newest results about the understanding, perception and communication of knowledge of informational pictures.

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