Nature Reviews Neuroscience 11, 61-69 (January 2010) | doi:10.1038/nrn2773

Science and societyNeurotalk: improving the communication of neuroscience research

See also: Correspondence by Madeleine Keehner & Martin H. Fischer | Correspondence by Julie M. Robillard & Judy Illes

Judy Illes1, Mary Anne Moser2, Jennifer B. McCormick3, Eric Racine4, Sandra Blakeslee5, Arthur Caplan6, Erika Check Hayden7, Jay Ingram8, Tiffany Lohwater9, Peter McKnight10, Christie Nicholson11, Anthony Phillips12, Kevin D. Sauvé1, Elaine Snell13 & Samuel Weiss14  About the authors


There is increasing pressure for neuroscientists to communicate their research and the societal implications of their findings to the public. Communicating science is challenging, and the transformation of communication by digital and interactive media increases the complexity of the challenge. To facilitate dialogue with the public in this new media landscape, we suggest three courses of action for the neuroscience community: a cultural shift that explicitly recognizes and rewards public outreach, the identification and development of neuroscience communication experts, and ongoing empirical research on the public communication of neuroscience.

Author affiliations

  1. Judy Illes and Kevin D. Sauvé are at the National Core for Neuroethics, The University of British Columbia, 2211 Wesbrook Mall, Koerner S124, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 2B5, Canada.
  2. Mary Anne Moser is at the Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive, Northwest Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada.
  3. Jennifer B. McCormick is at the Departments of Medicine and Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic and College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.
  4. Eric Racine is at the Neuroethics Research Unit, IRCM,110 Avenue des Pins Ouest, Montréal, Quebec H2W 1R7, Canada.
  5. Sandra Blakeslee is a freelance journalist working from Santa Fe, New Mexico 87506, USA.
  6. Arthur L. Caplan is at the Centre for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania, 3401 Market Street, Suite 320, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.
  7. Erika Check Hayden is at Nature, 225 Bush Street, Suite 1453, San Francisco, California 94104, USA.
  8. Jay Ingram can be contacted through CTV at Daily Planet, Discovery Channel, 9 Channel Nine Court, Scarborough, Ontario M1S 4B5, Canada.
  9. Tiffany Lohwater is at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 1200 New York Avenue, Northwest Washington DC 20005, USA.
  10. Peter McKnight is at Vancouver Sun, Suite 1, 200 Granville Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3N3, Canada.
  11. Christie Nicholson is at Scientific American, 292 DeKalb Avenue, 3 Brooklyn, New York 11205, USA.
  12. Anthony Phillips is at the Institute on Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), 2255 Westbrook Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 2A1, Canada.
  13. Elaine Snell is at the European Dana Alliance for the Brain, Snell Communications Ltd, Science, Medicine and Health, PO BOX 10461, London SW11 6ZJ, UK.
  14. Samuel Weiss is at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Health Research Innovation Centre – Room 1A10, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive, Northwest Calgary, Alberta T2N 4N1, Canada.

Correspondence to: Judy Illes1 Email:

Published online 2 December 2009


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