Parody as Scientific Theory

Nate Greenslit writes for From the Fields, a Wired Science op-ed series:

As an anthropologist of science, I am fascinated with how people create their own meaning from scientific content, which in turn shapes public understanding of science and, ultimately, scientific agendas themselves.

YouTube has become a lively repository for this kind of meaning-making. A great example is advertising for antidepressants: User-generated parody videos have given neuroscientific claims about depression a new cultural life.

So-called “direct-to-consumer” television and print advertising of antidepressants has been a controversial practice since its introduction in 1997, prohibited in all countries except for the U.S. and New Zealand. This sometimes-political lightning rod of the pharmaceutical industry has also been the de facto promulgator of putative neuroscientific theories of depression and anxiety disorders.

Read more here:

Op-Ed: Why YouTube Matters to the Science of Depression
By Nate Greenslit, February 28, 2012
Wired Scienece