Aarhus University Seal

(Informed) trust in science: The public understanding of controversies within and about science

Lecture with professor Rainer Bromme from University of Münster

Info about event


Friday 19 February 2021, at 13:15 - Wednesday 19 February 2020, at 14:45


Aarhus University, Nobelparken, Building 1481, room 366


Communication in International Business and the Professions (research programme)

(Informed) trust in science: The public understanding of controversies within and about science.

Rainer Bromme,

University of Münster, Germany,

In current days, the role of science for society is under pressure. (Purposeful) Misinterpretation and denial of scientific evidence and the rejection or ignorance of scientific expertise are gaining prominence. Scientific truth emerges from controversies and communication among scientists which are necessary for establishing and maintaining scientific consensus. The conversational nature of establishing 'truth' could be misused as a gateway for the populist denial of the power of science.

I will present a psychological approach for the study of public trust in science. It is based on the assumption that citizens have to rely on trust judgment in order to cope with scientific knowledge which matters for their life, but which is too complex for understanding it deeply, for example with regard to health or environmental issues.  How are such trust judgments made, what would citizens need to know in order to make such judgments in an 'informed way'? Based on several studies on the impact of controversies within and about science on trust judgments, the concept of informed trust will be elaborated.

About Professor Rainer Bromme

Rainer Bromme has been Professor (Educational Psychology) from 1995 to 2016 at the Institute of Psychology, University of Münster, Germany. He was teaching in Bachelor- and Master-programs in Psychology. Now he is appointed as 'Senior Professor' at Münster University, with a focus on research on science communication.

His present research addresses learning in formal and informal learning contexts, especially communication among experts and laypersons, internet use and trust in Science.

From 2009 to 2015 he coordinated a German Science Foundation (DFG) funded research program on Science and the Public: The public understanding of conflicting scientific evidence. (http://wissenschaftundoeffentlichkeit.de/en/). At present, he is one of the PI’s within the DFG funded Research Training Group Trust and Communication in a Digitized World (http://www.uni-muenster.de/GK-Vertrauen-Kommunikation/en/index.html) at the University of Münster.