Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

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.

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.

Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Reply to Comment Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (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?

    Starting Score:    0  points
    Moderation   +2  
       Insightful=1, Touché=1, Total=2
    Extra 'Touché' Modifier   0  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (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} {}> 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.