Science of Sharing Experimonths & Exhibits: Summative Evaluation Report
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Science of Sharing project (SoS) was a collaboration between the Exploratorium, the Museum of Life and Science, Dialogue Social Enterprise and The Heroic Imagination Project. SoS included two major components for members of the public to engage with: a permanent collection of interactive, multi-user exhibits at the Exploratorium, and a series of social-media based activities called Experimonths. SoS exhibits and Experimonths were designed to allow visitors to experiment with cooperation, trust, and social dilemmas, connect those experiences to larger real-world challenges such as environmental damage and social conflict, and learn about the scientific study of human behavior. A summative evaluation of SoS exhibits and Experimonth programs was conducted by Visitor Studies Services (VSS). Results of the VSS summative evaluation confirm that SoS exhibits and programs cause program participants and visitors to metacognate extensively about their own and others’ behaviors, cognitive processes, and perspectives regarding competition, collaboration, and resource sharing. Findings also confirm that SoS program and exhibit users observe, consider, and scale up about human behavior, social interactions, and personal biases. Additionally, exhibit users reflect on personal and local behaviors regarding resource sharing and relate those to wide-scale impacts. A quasi-experimental comparison with a more typical science exhibition at the Exploratorium (Light and Sound) revealed statistically significant differences in these impacts between the two. In all, 530 exhibit visitors and Experimonth players participated in exit interviews, intercept interviews, or telephone interviews, or were captured on video for tracking and timing. All study protocols were reviewed and approved by Ethical and Independent Review Services.