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Popular evolutionary psychology in the UK: an unusual case of science in the media?

[journal article]

Cassidy, Angela

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Abstract This paper presents findings from quantitative analyses of UK press and print media coverage of evolutionary psychology during the 1990s. It argues that evolutionary psychology presents an interesting case for studies of science in the media in several different ways. First, press coverage of evolutionary psychology was found to be closely linked with the publications of popular books on the subject. Secondly, when compared to coverage of other subjects, a higher proportion of academics and authors wrote about evolutionary psychology in the press, contributing to the development of a scientific controversy in the public domain. Finally, it was found that evolutionary psychology coverage appeared in different areas of the daily press, and was rarely written about by specialist science journalists. The possible reasons for these features are then explored, including the boom in popular science publishing during the 1990s, evolutionary psychology’s status as a new subject of study and discussion, and the nature of the subject itself as theoretically based and with a human, “everyday” subject matter.
Document language English
Publication Year 2005
Page/Pages p. 115-141
Journal Public Understanding of Science, 14 (2005) 2
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)