In 1954, a study published by Princeton and Dartmouth researchers asked their students to watch a recording of a football game between the two schools and count infractions. The Princeton students reported twice as many violations against Princeton as Dartmouth students did. In a 2003 study, Yale researchers asked people to evaluate proposed (fictional) policies about welfare reform, with political parties' endorsements clearly stated. They found that their subjects sided with their political parties regardless of their personal ideologies or the policies' content. A study by a different group in 2011 asked people to identify whether certain scientists (highly trained and at well-respected institutions) were credible experts on global warming, disposal of nuclear waste, and gun control. Subjects largely favored the scientists whose conclusions matched their own values; the facts were irrelevant.
This behavior is called "selective perception"—the way that otherwise rational people distort facts by putting them through a personal lens of social influence and wind up with a worldview that often alters reality. Selective perception affects all our beliefs, and it's a major stumbling block for science communication.
What divides us, it turns out, isn't the issues. It's the social and political contexts that color how we see the issues. Take nuclear power, for example. In the U.S., we argue about it; in France, the public couldn't care less. (The U.S.'s power is about 20 percent nuclear; France's is 78 percent.) Look at nearly any science issue and nations hold different opinions. We fight about gun control, climate change, and HPV vaccination. In Europe, these controversies don't hold a candle to debates about GMO foods and mad cow disease. Scientific subjects become politically polarized because the public interprets even the most rigorously assembled facts based on the beliefs of their social groups, says Dan Kahan, a Yale professor of law and psychology who ran the 2011 science-expert study.
The problem is, our beliefs influence policy. Public attitudes change how politicians vote, the products companies make, and how science gets funded.
So what can we do? The science world has taken note. For example, the National Science Foundation recently emphasized grant–proposal rules that encourage scientists to share their research with the public. And several conferences on science communication have sprung up. It's not a bad start. As people hear more from scientists, scientists will be absorbed into the public's social lens--—and maybe even gain public trust. Having scientists tweet is good, but the most influential public figures are the ones folks can relate to (à la Carl Sagan). We need to get more figures like him—fast. According to Kahan, synthetic biology is a prime candidate for the next controversy. Building man-made versions of DNA or engineering better humans can be risky, and the public will need to make decisions about it. To ensure that those decisions are clear-eyed, scientists need to stop communicating as, well, scientists and speak like the rest of us.
The diagnosis is important. The prescription needs more work.
One glitch in this account: It overlooks that scientists are human, prone to the same biases as other people.
Neanderthal man has been observing to be largely unchanged for 100k years with a tool box and a set of tool typically unchanged. Other animals on occasion have been observed to use tools as well and the use of those tools typically does not change as well.
Something happen with the primates to make human - a outside spark of influence - to change us from the natural animal kingdom to expand our tool box and use of tools.
This ever growing spark I refer to be science and will someday set us from the boundaries of ground Earth and allow mankind to expand outwards to the cosmic space.
When our scientist or scientist venture quickly in growth, the danger comes as we venture quickly from out natural environment or the removal of that environment, we bring about our own doom.
While we are modern human, unique in the animal world, we forever will be Earthlings and must always carrying, maintain and cherish this foundation of which we are forever and animal of Earth.
When we can maintain our Earthly environment in space, then all the cosmos for humans will be to explore and our spark with shine so brightly!!
Neil DeGrasse Tyson is doing a hell of a job, and if he isn't that guy, I'm sure he's inspiring thousands of the world's youth through all of his podcasting and guest appearances on podcasts to become the guy or gal you're talking about.
Hopefully he can inspire more women to STEM. Combined with the transparency of the internet, I really think a female figure that inspires Sagan-esque reverence in little girls can bring about a new enlightenment. But hey, that's just one optimist's view on the lot.
Who's going to be the next well spoken person to delude the masses?
Its Neil DeGrasse Tyson
like Joan implied I am dazzled that anybody can profit $7249 in four weeks on the computer. have you read this web link Go to site and open Home for details
Jason Silva http://vimeo.com/jasonsilva
Bravo! at least someone did attempt to explain part of what causes some of the more ridiculous responses to just about anything that happens. I agree with the author. I myself believe and know from experience that perception is approximately 90% of any situation we experience; therefore, it follows that since we all perceive things according to our personal belief structure we tend to discount actual fact in favor of that status quo for that belief structure. This is just another phase of human evolution and if we survive it, then this to shall pass.
" it follows that since we all perceive things according to our personal belief structure we tend to discount actual fact in favor of that status quo for that belief structure."
" This is just another phase of human evolution and if we survive it, then this to shall pass."