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Sunday, September 24, 2023


UV professor to discuss how social sciences explain impact of science, technology

Little research has been conducted to determine the thought and social processes that lead to innovation, but Michael Gorman will attempt to show that sociology and anthropology can be used to craft a better understanding of innovation and the impact of science and technology on society on Monday.

Gorman is the director of the Science, Technology & Society Program at the University of Virginia, where he teaches courses on ethics, invention, discovery and communication. He earned a bachelors degree in psychology at Occidental College and received his masters and Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of New Hampshire.

“Scientists are human beings who live and work in a society and culture,” said Ioanna Semendeferi, UH associate instructional and research professor.

“What motivates them, when they excel, why they err, what are the internal and external factors that affect them — all play a role in the making of good and ethical science,” Semendeferi said. “Hence, any relevant knowledge about the scientists’ talents, thinking and behavior that could be drawn from psychology, sociology, and anthropology as well as history would be highly beneficial not only to them but also to society, the recipient and funder of the scientific operation.”

Gorman is president of the International Society for the Psychology of Science and Technology and served as a Science and Technology Studies Program director at the National Science Foundation. He has written more than 50 articles and books on social psychology of science, cognition, invention and ethics. The courses he teaches at UVA include Ethics, Invention and Design, Earth Systems Technology and Management, Innovation and Invention in Science and Technology, Scientific and Technological Thinking and Social Psychology.

Gorman’s lecture will also cover a few of the major methods used by psychologists as well as the findings of a few new studies, and he will highlight his own efforts to have science and technology studies scholars take psychological findings seriously.

The lecture will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Philip Guthrie Hoffman Hall Rm. 232.

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