NPR

The Dangers Of Hidden Jargon In Communicating Science

Double-masked jargon is so sneaky that I've only managed to uncover a few examples, says blogger Tania Lombrozo; it's real and, in some cases, it presents a barrier to effective science communication.
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One of the challenges that can arise in communicating science and other forms of scholarship to non-experts is the jargon involved.

How many people can confidently explain the meaning of broadband asymmetric acoustic transmission, mural lymphatic endothelial cells, or graded incoherence (to borrow some phrases from recent journal publications)?

But the most dangerous kind of jargon isn't the kind we notice. It's the kind that slips by. When technical definitions hide behind words we use in everyday speech, the opportunities for miscommunication abound. The expert thinks she has been clear; the recipient thinks he has understood. And yet, both could be wrong.

A common example comes from the statistical use of the word "significance." When a result is statistically significant, it means that it has been evaluated with a statistical test and found to meet some predefined threshold. The test itself involves calculating the probability of obtaining a

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