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Women in Science

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Video clip: Molly felt unprepared to deal with the considerable (and often inaccurate) media interest after her paper was published in Science. She took part in Training for Public Engagement and has done a TED talk on misreported science.

So my first project in my PhD ended up getting published in Science which is one of the top publications. And that paper really launched my career, you know, you know again I just feel so incredibly fortunate because it, it really was a question of sort of seeing what was going to be the next big thing and being in a time and a place where I could bring together different elements of science and people to this project. After that I started getting a lot of invitations to give talks at different places.

But the publication it was, it was definitely like being thrown in the deep end, especially with the media stuff. So we had this Finding showing that if you manipulate people’s serotonin levels using a diet manipulation giving people a, a protein drink kind of thing, this influenced the way they made decisions in a social exchange. And the media widely misreported this finding and so we had these headlines coming out of the paper like, ‘Cheese and chocolate help you make better decisions.’ And you know it really got, it really got out of hand and I was, I was wholly unprepared to deal with the media side of things and, and had no experience controlling the message that I wanted to get out from the paper and so that, that experience really taught me a lot and after that I actively pursued Public Engagement training and started writing articles for a general audience and that ultimately led to me giving a TED talk on how to deal with these kinds of misreporting of science and, and really also public education message, how to spot when something is being misreported in the media.