Neuroplicity: Leveraging New Media and Digital Storytelling to Connect Society to Neuroscience (2014-2015)

Scientists are infamously inept at communicating the importance of their research to nonexperts. However, most of the questions they study are of fundamental interest and relevance to society, and it is the responsibility of academics (and ultimately, to their benefit) to effectively translate their research to as broad an audience as possible.

This project team’s objective was to leverage new media and digital storytelling to improve the connection between basic neuroscience research and society’s understanding of this research – its rationale, significance, consequences and limitations. The team aimed to achieve this by developing creative and effective means of communicating key issues and developments in memory and disease-related brain research to a broad, nonspecialist audience. Team members were guided by the combined, interdisciplinary expertise of two PIs: a neuroscientist specializing in understanding the inner workings of neurons in normal and diseased nervous systems; and an expert in new media technologies, digital storytelling and visual culture. A Biology postdoc and an MFA student in Experimental and Documentary Arts provided additional mentoring, but the undergraduate students were the major “interpreters” of the team.

The team developed a website, neuroplicity.net, to further the goals of communicating neuroscience fundamentals, the pleasures and challenges of conducting research and the daily practice of “doing science.” Team members also created a series of videos. Together these resources built a foundation for dispelling public misunderstandings of neuroscience and connecting the audience to resources for additional learning. 

Timing

Summer 2014 – Spring 2015

Team Outcomes

Neuroplicity (website)

What’s Neuroplicity? (video)

Dr. Nina Sherwood’s Research (video)

People on the Street: What Is a Neuroscientist? (video)

See related team, Neuroplicity: Leveraging New Media and Digital Storytelling to Connect Society to Neuroscience (2015-2016)

Faculty/Staff Team Members

Mark Olson, Arts & Sciences-Art, Art History, and Visual Studies*
Nina Sherwood, Trinity - Biology*
Jill Wentzell, Ph.D., Arts & Sciences-Biology

Graduate Team Members

Elizabeth Striegl, MFA/Experimental and Doc Arts

Undergraduate Team Members

Kunal Goel, Neuroscience (BS)
Tiffany Kearse, Neuroscience (BS)
Elizabeth Kim, Psychology (AB)
Yao Qi, Neuroscience (BS)
Yekaterina Shpanskaya, Neuroscience (BS)
Kaylin Tsukayama, Neuroscience (BS)

* denotes team leader

Status

Completed, Archived