#Science Curiosity and Political Reasoning – #365papers – 2017 – 31

#365papers for January 31, 2017

Kahan, Landrum, Carpenter, Helft and Jamieson, 2017, Science Curiosity and Political Information Processing: Advances in Political Psychology, v. 38, p. 179-199.

What’s it about?

This paper discusses how curiosity about science (general interest and the desire to learn more) in people counteracts the natural tendency for people to emphasize or ignore information that supports or refutes their political standing.

Furthermore, this paper comes up with a way to actually measure “Science curiosity” in people, a property that previous efforts thought was not real nor measurable.

Why does it matter?

This paper helps us understand how and why some people cannot be swayed in opinion by scientific information. If a person is not already scientifically minded (or possessing high levels of science curiosity, scientific information not conforming to political leanings is likely to be ignored.

Sadly, this paper does not offer solutions to this problem.

Why did I read this?

There’s some, er, political turmoil going on right now, and it’s becoming clear that people in general and certain politicians in particular not only mistrust science, but would like to see it, um, go away. This boggles my mind as a scientist, so I’ve read this paper to try to understand how it’s possible that some people could so easily ignore science.

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