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posted by janrinok on Wednesday June 22, @01:46PM   Printer-friendly
from the if-you-change-your-mind-I'm-the-first-in-line dept.

https://phys.org/news/2022-06-science-coverage-climate-mindsbriefly.html

Science reporting on climate change does lead Americans to adopt more accurate beliefs and support government action on the issue—but these gains are fragile, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that these accurate beliefs fade quickly and can erode when people are exposed to coverage skeptical of climate change.

"It is not the case that the American public does not respond to scientifically informed reporting when they are exposed to it," said Thomas Wood, associate professor of political science at The Ohio State University.

"But even factually accurate science reporting recedes from people's frame of reference very quickly."

"Not only did science reporting change people's factual understanding, it also moved their political preferences," he said. "It made them think that climate change was a pressing government concern that government should do more about."

[...] Overall, the results suggest that the media play a key role in Americans' beliefs and attitudes about scientific issues like climate change.

"It was striking to us how amenable the subjects in our study were to what they read about climate change in our study. But what they learned faded very quickly," Wood said. The results of the study conflict with the media imperative to only report on what is new.

More information: Time and skeptical opinion content erode the effects of science coverage on climate beliefs and attitudes, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2022). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2122069119.

 
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  • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @01:56PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @01:56PM (#1255348)

    "Accurate" reporting changes a mind only briefly.
    "Inaccurate" reporting also seems to change minds briefly.

    So basically, Americans tend to believe whatever they heard last?

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by ikanreed on Wednesday June 22, @02:31PM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Wednesday June 22, @02:31PM (#1255355) Journal

      Except those of us with an ideology. We tend to adhere to our existing view of the world, though, I personally would like to believe compelling evidence makes me update my views a bit too.

      I read some research years ago that correctly identified that people with extremist views* were slightly more likely to have pre-existing untrue beliefs about facts in the world, but people without them were far more prone to be convinced of untrue statements by intentionally fallacious arguments. And if you've ever dealt with political independents before and the way they end up at their decisions, this seems obvious.

      *Like nearly all such research this problem was measurably much worse on the right than the left, but happened with "Both sides"

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by FatPhil on Wednesday June 22, @03:32PM

      by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Wednesday June 22, @03:32PM (#1255377) Homepage
      BoJo had to keep his political posturing to phrases of only 3 words in length the Brits were so pondlife-brained. This ain't a US thing.
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @10:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @10:17PM (#1255468)

      So basically, Americans tend to believe whatever they heard last?

      Dora's memory, yes.

  • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @02:08PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @02:08PM (#1255350)

    People's support lasts until they see that the govt wants them to live an impoverished life to "not emit carbon."

  • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Wednesday June 22, @03:14PM

    by Opportunist (5545) on Wednesday June 22, @03:14PM (#1255370)

    until they meet someone who tells them what they'd rather like to hear.

  • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday June 22, @03:24PM (1 child)

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday June 22, @03:24PM (#1255372) Journal

    Isn't this basically true for all new information? If it isn't used or reinforced it goes away....

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Thursday June 23, @04:14PM

      by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday June 23, @04:14PM (#1255613)

      Or built on top of, like a house foundation. But once it's infrastructural, it's out of sight, out of mind until you have termite problems.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @03:27PM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @03:27PM (#1255374)

    your house burning down,
    your house flooding,
    your price of food increasing hugely,
    your access to water decreasing hugely
    your house is heating/cooling abnormally.

    We don't need to try to change minds,
    The climate is going to do that work for us.

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday June 22, @03:48PM (1 child)

      by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Wednesday June 22, @03:48PM (#1255383) Homepage
      So you want people's minds changed only after it's too late?!
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:13PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:13PM (#1255403)

        There were people in ICUs dying of COVID and still believing it was all a Democrat-hyped hoax.

        What we've got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday June 23, @12:24AM (4 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 23, @12:24AM (#1255488) Journal

      your house burning down,
      your house flooding,
      your price of food increasing hugely,
      your access to water decreasing hugely
      your house is heating/cooling abnormally.

      We don't need to try to change minds,
      The climate is going to do that work for us.

      Why? You have any evidence to support that hope? I'll note that non-climate factors in every single one of these lines will have a greater effect than climate change. A poor regional economy that can't support adequate firefighting and other emergency services. Flood insurance that subsidizes people living in flood-prone areas. Pumping out aquifer. Poor insulation.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @08:28AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @08:28AM (#1255542)

        I suggest that SoylentNews, as a community, volunteer khallow for this experiment. I trust it involves electrodes inserted into the skull? If it works on khallow, it will work on anyone. Never seen such a stubborn twit. And he thinks he is smart, with "evidence" and shit.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday June 23, @11:29AM (2 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 23, @11:29AM (#1255557) Journal

          Never seen such a stubborn twit. And he thinks he is smart, with "evidence" and shit.

          That's science, Buttercup. Without "evidence" you have shit. It doesn't matter how much you talk up consensus or the latest bit of extreme weather.

          • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, @05:34AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, @05:34AM (#1255743)

            I never suggested that khallow would be a willing subject, quite the opposite. Black vans and bags over the head type stuff, like that movie about the Marlbourgh man.

  • (Score: 2) by gznork26 on Wednesday June 22, @03:35PM (1 child)

    by gznork26 (1159) on Wednesday June 22, @03:35PM (#1255378) Homepage Journal

    I wonder how this shakes out if you filter for what sort of background the respondents bring to the table. In the extreme, that would isolate those whose education included more than the required minimum exposure to science, and those that didn't. My thought here was whether the stickiness of the change was affected by whether there was a mental structure on which to hang it. In other words, unless the new info could be attached to a body of knowledge, it wouldn't have much staying power. This works both ways, of course, so a new conspiracy theory would be sticky if it was in some way consistent with those the person already subscribed to.

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday June 22, @04:00PM

      by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Wednesday June 22, @04:00PM (#1255386) Homepage
      It's probably quite non-linear. There will be those who cannot understand any argument that would change their worldview, and there will be those who were smart enough to have arrived at sensible long-termist views early on. Neither of those parties will move much. The middle-ground who are amenable to well-grounded persuasion that moves them from an ill-founded view are probably in a minority.
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @03:59PM (11 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @03:59PM (#1255385)

    It comes down to trust. No institution has any because they have all been seen to be liars. Whether the climate scientists are lying to appease their funding sources or to push an agenda they truly believe, few believe they are still scientists. Because we look everywhere else and see liars too, so when we see reports they have been caught in scandals like Climate Gate we tend to believe the negative. Our politicians are corrupt, probably all pedophiles after the Maxwell / Epstein affair was covered up. Our business leaders are corrupt, selling out our industrial base to China for baubles. Our "media" is lies only fools still actually believe a word of. Then their are our "religious" and moral authorities. Yeah, lots of trustworthy folks there.

    So yeah, we are all ready to turn the world upside down because maniacs preaching end times nonsense says we must. Maniacs who also love to fly away to conferences and discuss how they can get rid of 90% of us "useless bread eaters." I trust them to want what is best for me, don't you?

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by FatPhil on Wednesday June 22, @04:08PM (4 children)

      by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Wednesday June 22, @04:08PM (#1255387) Homepage
      The solution is openness, and once you have that you can also have proper accountability too.

      A few bad scientists, like a spoon of shit in a barrel of fine armanac, can ruin it for everyone.
      A few good politicians, like a spoon of fine armagnac in a dumpster full of shit, can't improve things at all.
      The shit has a huge leverage advantage. Only accountability can get rid of the shit.

      Once you have the openness and the accountability, you can finally stop relying on trust.
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Wednesday June 22, @04:48PM (1 child)

        by HiThere (866) on Wednesday June 22, @04:48PM (#1255394) Journal

        I wish that were true. When I see the way problems with Free Software are handled in the media compared to problems with commercial software, I doubt it. Openness won't make the problems magically disappear, but it will make any problems more visible.

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Thursday June 23, @04:19PM

          by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday June 23, @04:19PM (#1255616)

          And when you have the accountability of commercial software, where you can point a finger at a single company being the source of a software problem, it's still a big issue. So while openness and accountability help improve the quality of software when it comes out of the gate, it seems like eternal vigilance is the only thing that really keeps problems from becoming huge issues in software.

      • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Thursday June 23, @04:12PM (1 child)

        by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday June 23, @04:12PM (#1255612)

        The shit has a huge leverage advantage. Only accountability can get rid of the shit.

        How about microwaving the whole thing? The shit will still be there, but all the dangerous parts will be dead.

    • (Score: 1, Troll) by Username on Wednesday June 22, @04:18PM (5 children)

      by Username (4557) on Wednesday June 22, @04:18PM (#1255389)

      I trust that "accurate beliefs" is another term for politically correct, and by default is false, otherwise it would just be correct and factual.

      Yeah. When i see certain degrees from certain unis i already know it's slanted "research."

      • (Score: 4, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:14PM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:14PM (#1255404)

        Yet somehow you consider Fox and Breitbart to be valid sources.

        • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:50PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:50PM (#1255418)

          Let's just be quiet and eat the bugs. For lower carbon emissions.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @07:36PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @07:36PM (#1255429)

            PSA: don't take advice from not-sees.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @07:39PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @07:39PM (#1255430)

          Surely you jest, Fox News is just a more reputable CNN at this point, both pushing the same Narrative. Breitbart hasn't been trustworthy since Andrew passed.

          • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, @05:36AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, @05:36AM (#1255745)

            Faux News is now dead, unreliable. Murdock just divorced this fourth wife, the Supermodel one. NewsCorp is finished.

  • (Score: 2) by digitalaudiorock on Wednesday June 22, @08:12PM

    by digitalaudiorock (688) on Wednesday June 22, @08:12PM (#1255439)

    This three part series should be mandatory watching for like everyone:

    https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/the-power-of-big-oil/ [pbs.org]

    Stunning as it is disgusting.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by inertnet on Wednesday June 22, @08:14PM (2 children)

    by inertnet (4071) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 22, @08:14PM (#1255441)

    I'm currently in the process of ordering around $30,000 worth of updates for my house, like double and triple glazing, and solar panels.

    My reasoning is that, no matter what the climate or science are going to do, I see that money as an investment in my house. It's a lot of money, but in the end the house will be worth at least that much more. Plus it will be even more comfortable.

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Thursday June 23, @04:21PM (1 child)

      by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday June 23, @04:21PM (#1255617)

      Any good sites for recommendations on climate-upgrading a house? I'm thinking solar panels, shade cloth, window tinting, multiple glazing, graywater reclamation/irrigation systems for drought, ... ?

      • (Score: 2) by inertnet on Thursday June 23, @05:21PM

        by inertnet (4071) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 23, @05:21PM (#1255622)

        Not really, sorry. I live in a city the Netherlands with its own peculiarities and I haven't researched internationally a lot. For instance, because to subsidies, here the cost for triple glazing is about the same as for double glazing.

  • (Score: 2) by ChrisMaple on Thursday June 23, @03:08AM

    by ChrisMaple (6964) on Thursday June 23, @03:08AM (#1255505)

    "We're telling you the truth, but you fools only believe us for a little while and change your mind when someone disagrees with us."

    The unproven claim is "We're telling you the truth."

    Perhaps if their haughty bias weren't so obvious they'd make more lasting arguments. True or not, don't insult your audience.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 26, @09:48PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 26, @09:48PM (#1256414)

    "more accurate beliefs" And here I was thinking they were presenting facts.

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