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  • Dr. David Gruber: Neuroscience and Public Communication

    14/04/2017 - The New Zealand Centre of Peking University hosted Dr. David R. Gruber, who is a NZC Visiting Research Fellow from the Department of English and Media at Massey University in Auckland. The audience were challenged to think about neuroscience in the media, the rhetoric’s response to neuroscience and future needs and directions.

    The New Zealand Centre hosted Dr.David R. Gruber from 8 to 15 April, whose host professor is Professor Jing Wu, from Peking University’s College of Journalism and Communication. As well as delivering the lecture titled “Neuroscience and public communication”, Dr. David R. Gruber actively engaged in academic activities with Professor Jing Wu and Associate Professor Xinchuan Liu as well as Peking University College of Journalism and Communication students.

    Dr. David R. Gruber is a senior lecturer at Massey University in Auckland. His research bridges the Critical Neurosciences, the Rhetoric of Science and Technical Communication. He also has works published in Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Language &Communication, Journal of Science Communication, Public Understanding of Science, among other journals.

    Dr Gruber with Peking University students following his guest lecture.

    Dr. David R. Gruber’s talk is also sponsored by Bank of China. In this talk entitled Neuroscience and public communication, Dr. David R. Gruber examined the public understanding of neuroscience, exploring research gaps and new directions. His talk was structured into three main parts: 1) neuroscience in the media, 2) rhetoric’s response to neuroscience and 3) futures for exploration.

    Firstly, Dr. David R. Gruber provided the audience with a fundamental understanding of science communication and outlined the key issues raised by scholars with regards to neuroscience in the media. For example, the media has been known to use neuroscience material for its seductive appeal and has over-simplified neuroscience. Gruber drew on his research to argue that over-simplification may also appear to serve a critical social function wthin the allowances of specific new sub-genres.

    Secondly, Dr. David R. Gruber explained how neuro-rhetorics intends to study the effect of neuroscience on society and how it becomes persuasive. The field of rhetorics, focusing on persuasion, can help scientists to communicate and invent new ideas that can be useful when studying rhetorics and/or the brain.

    The guest lecture was well attended by students across faculties.

    Thirdly, futures for exploration and future needs were given. The audience was challenged to think about engaging in cross-cultural studies, the need for more people to contribute to neuroscience itself and to brainstorm new and better words to describe the brain itself. To conclude, Gruber suggested that inquiry into the ‘rhetoric of neuroscience’ can be improved by more thoroughly embracing a creative, inventive approach aligned with a 'neuroscience of rhetoric.’

    Dr. David R. Gruber has found this Fellowship very rewarding, which enabled him to establish links with Chinese academics in Journalism. The trip is a good opportunity for him to get a better idea of the research interests of Chinese scholars whom he believe he will have more frequent and closer links with.

    Dr David R. Gruber prepared his lecture as part of a Visiting Fellowship with the New Zealand Centre. If you are a member of the academic staff from any of our eight partner institutions and you are interested in attending a fellowship at Peking University, get in touch with our liaison officers to learn more about the application process. Visiting fellowships for New Zealand academics are held year-round at Peking University, across a broad range of departments, forming a significant contribution to the advancement of academic exchange between China and New Zealand.

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