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TARG talk: Distortion of neuroscience findings in the media

26 February 2014

The Tobacco & Alcohol Research Group are hosting a seminar on Friday 28th February, 3-4pm in the Experimental Psychology coffee room. Dr François Gonon from the University of Bordeaux, France will be giving a talk entitled "Distortion of neuroscience findings in the media: causes and social consequence"

The Tobacco & Alcohol Research Group are hosting a seminar on Friday 28th February, 3-4pm in the Experimental Psychology coffee room. Dr François Gonon from the University of Bordeaux, France, will be giving a talk entitled "Distortion of neuroscience findings in the media: causes and social consequence".

Please feel free to join us.

Outline:

There is often a substantial gap between neurobiological findings and their media coverage. We have analysed the neuroscience discourse and show that misrepresentations of neuroscience observations already occur inside scientific publications. Publication bias also plays a major role in distorted media reporting - initial scientific publications often report larger effects than subsequent studies on the same issue. However, we also observed (in the case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) that journalists preferentially report on initial publications and almost never inform the public that most of them are refuted or strongly attenuated by subsequent studies.

Selected publications:

Gonon, F., Bézard, E., & Boraud, T. (2011). Misrepresentation of neuroscience data might give rise to misleading conclusions in the media: the case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. PLoS ONE, 6(1), e14618. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0014168

Gonon, F., Bezard, E., & Boraud, T. (2011). What should be said to the lay public regarding ADHD etiology. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet, 156(8), 989-991. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.b.31236

Gonon, F., Konsman, J. P., Cohen, D., & Boraud, T. (2012). Why most biomedical findings echoed by newspapers turn out to be false: the case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. PLoS ONE, 7(9), e44275.

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