>Barbara Lamar wrote:
>> Greg Burch recently commented that most scientists are not
>> good at communicating. I wonder if this is because of the
>> sort of training they've had, or if it's because the ability
>> of a brain to function "scientifically" generally precludes
>> the ability to communicate well in the usual manner.
Although that is a common stereotype I think it is incorrect. I believe
that many scientists are amazing communicators and many are crappy
communicators. I suspect that as compared to non-scientists, the population
of scientists may have a higher mean communication ability - I'm just
guessing that more intelligent people tend to be able to communicate clearer
on average. This stereotype may result from the fact we notice those
scientists that cannot communicate well more because we are more interested
in what they have to say and what they are trying to communicate is of a
fairly high complexity.
Bryan Moss responded:
> As I understand it, the short-term memory that is involved in
> problem solving is the same used for speaking and listening.
> Perhaps, then, scientists tend to access their short-term
> memory in ways not necessarily geared to communication.
Yes to the first part, no to the second. In Baddeley's conceptualization of
short-term memory he did divide it into two short-term stores, the
phonological loop and the visuospatial workspace, which are both under the
control of the central executive. Later expansions of this model allow for
short-term memory stores in other sensory and motor modalities. Thus one
part of short-term memory, the phonological loop, is involved in auditory
acts and perception, namely speaking and listening. But unless the problem
solving that is going on is mainly linguistic or auditory this short-term
memory store is not that used. For example that Einstein guy did a lot of
visual imaging thus he probably used his visuospatial working memory and not
his phonological loop - thus his communication problems (he wasn't a great
writer) probably come from a visual orientation rather than verbal
orientation thus his verbal skills are neglected rather than being
interfered with by his problem solving.
Anyways some "genius" type individuals tend not to be great verbally, but
that is usually because they develop other skills to the neglect of verbal
ones. Sometimes that development of non-verbal skills happens because they
might actually have a verbal deficit of some type - a compensatory
development of non-verbal skills instead of just a neglect of verbal skills.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On
Behalf Of Bryan Moss
Sent: Saturday, February 10, 2001 11:46 AM
Subject: Re: Popular(izing) Science
Barbara Lamar wrote:
> Greg Burch recently commented that most scientists are not
> good at communicating. I wonder if this is because of the
> sort of training they've had, or if it's because the ability
> of a brain to function "scientifically" generally precludes
> the ability to communicate well in the usual manner.
Bryan Moss responded:
As I understand it, the short-term memory that is involved in
problem solving is the same used for speaking and listening.
Perhaps, then, scientists tend to access their short-term
memory in ways not necessarily geared to communication.
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