Full-Scale Development Project: The Science Of Sharing: Exhibits And Activities Fostering Investigation Of Cooperation, Competition, And Social Interdependence

Thursday, September 1, 2011 to Sunday, August 31, 2014
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Project Descriptions
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Museum and Science Center Programs, Exhibitions, Museum and Science Center Exhibits, Informal/Formal Connections, K-12 Programs
Youth/Teen (up to 17) | Adults | General Public | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
Education and learning science | Life science | Social science and psychology
Exploratorium, Museum of Life and Science

The Exploratorium and the Museum of Life and Science will develop, evaluate and implement Science of Sharing, a three-year full-scale development project designed to bring the scientific study of human social behavior to a broad public audience. Science of Sharing will create new ways for visitors to experiment with social psychology and will generate important information for informal science institutions committed to involving visitors in discussions of personal, societal, and scientific responses to real-world challenges. Science of Sharing addresses a critical ISE issue: creating ways for visitors to experiment with inquiry based exhibits and activities that heighten public knowledge of the study of human social behavior. Based on research in social psychology and game theory, the project (a) fosters public engagement in activities exploring collaborative behavior and resource sharing; (b) promotes awareness of connections between these experiences and STEM-related research in psychology and economics; and (c) links individual behaviors to real-world issues of resource depletion and group conflict. The primary audience is youth and youth-adult museum visitors, with particular focus on underrepresented communities with limited access to communication technologies. The secondary audience is ISE professionals with interest in new kinds of interactive experience and visualization tools focusing on social behavior and techniques for fostering social interaction and public discussion of science. The project will (1) conduct front end evaluation to assess visitor attitudes and knowledge about issues of cooperation and resource use; (2) design, prototype, and evaluate 15 inquiry-based exhibits and 4 Experimonths (public events with web, museum, and community-based components on social-psychological topics); (3) conduct design-based research to investigate aspects of these exhibits and activities that prompt self-reflection and build metacognitive skills; and (4) work with local school districts to adapt exhibits for classroom use.

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Team Members

Hugh McDonaldHugh McDonaldPrincipal Investigator
Josh GutwillCo-Principal Investigator
Troy LivingstonTroy LivingstonCo-Principal Investigator

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