How to turn visitors into citizens
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Cultural Models are deeply held, learned ways of understanding the world that motivate thought and behavior in largely unconscious and automatic ways. These taken-for-granted, simplified and durable representations of the world are shared by members of a social group who rely on these models to accomplish all kinds of cognitive tasks and to organize and interpret new information. Fortunately, most of the things we encounter in life are understood through multiple cultural models. It is our job as communicators, to try to help people think through an issue using the most productive cultural model at hand.

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A core story translates the most important principles and understandings that experts would like to communicate by organizing them into a coherent narrative structure, satisfying questions of context, plot, intervention and outcomes by using the tools of strategic framing. A core story offers a narrative integrity and modularity that enables different experts working on a wide variety of materials and in a variety of settings to explain their work, research, and practices in a uniform way that can be easily remembered by ordinary people and that has a positive effect in relation to translational goals.

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Values are enduring beliefs that orient individuals’ attitudes and behavior. As such, effective values form the basis for social appeals that pull audiences’ reactions in a desirable direction. Values structure goals and ideas about what matters across circumstances with notions about what is good and what is right. Because of their orienting function, communicators should employ values near the beginning and throughout the stories they tell about issues to remind people what is at stake.

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A simplifying model (also called Explanatory Metaphor) is a special type of metaphor that provides a new way of talking about an issue. A good simplifying model is a device that leads people to think and talk about something they were not previously proficient in thinking or talking about. The metaphorical device works this way by transporting a cluster of usable meanings into a content area with which listeners or readers are less familiar, generating productive associations and providing the grounds for further discussion.

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