Getting a scientific message across means taking human nature into account

“We humans have collectively accumulated a lot of science knowledge. We’ve developed vaccines that can eradicate some of the most devastating diseases. We’ve engineered bridges and cities and the internet. We’ve created massive metal vehicles that rise tens of thousands of feet and then safely set down on the other side of the globe. And this is just the tip of the iceberg (which, by the way, we’ve discovered is melting). While this shared knowledge is impressive, it’s not distributed evenly. Not even close. There are too many important issues that science has reached a consensus on that the public has not.”

https://theconversation.com/getting-a-scientific-message-across-means-taking-human-nature-into-account-70634

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Have a Moral Dilemma? Start with Your Gut Reaction, but Don’t Stop There

“Helping someone in desperate need is an ethical choice, yet it is a choice we would all make without hesitating, i.e. thinking a single thought. The reason, according to Harvard Law Professor Glenn Cohen, is that ethical choices start in the gut. Our intuition, programmed my millions of years of evolution, instructs us what to do without needing rational deliberation. But at times, especially when making an ethical decision implies a sacrifice on our behalf, rational deliberation is necessary, and likely inescapable.”

http://bigthink.com/videos/glenn-cohen-on-ethics-101-and-being-our-best-selves

Implicit bias and the NFL draft Teams don’t recognize how unconscious attitudes about race affect which players they select

“Even in an industry where minority workers sometimes appear to be favored for highly desirable jobs,” the two concluded, “employers may still fall prey to symbolic discrimination, relying on deeply embedded stereotypes about minority groups during the interview process.”

Why People Oppose GMOs Even Though Science Says They Are Safe

“Intuition can encourage opinions that are contrary to the facts.”

“By tapping into intuitions and emotions that mostly work under the radar of conscious awareness, but are constituent of any normally functioning human mind, such representations become easy to think. They capture our attention, they are easily processed and remembered and thus stand a greater chance of being transmitted and becoming popular, even if they are untrue. Thus, many people oppose GMOs, in part, because it just makes sense that they would pose a threat.”

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-people-oppose-gmos-even-though-science-says-they-are-safe/

The Science of Why Cops Shoot Young Black Men And how to reform our bigoted brains.

We’re not born with racial prejudices. We may never even have been “taught” them. Rather, explains Nosek, prejudice draws on “many of the same tools that help our minds figure out what’s good and what’s bad.” In evolutionary terms, it’s efficient to quickly classify a grizzly bear as “dangerous.” The trouble comes when the brain uses similar processes to form negative views about groups of people.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/science-of-racism-prejudice

Police Body Cameras: What Do You See?

Interesting set of videos that shows you the limitations of what we can learn from body cameras on police officers. It also raises issues around how our prior knowledge, expectations, and experiences affect what we see when we interpret a given situation.

“This confirms what Professor Stoughton has found in his own presentations with judges, lawyers and students: What we see in police video footage tends to be shaped by what we already believe.

“‘Our interpretation of video is just as subject to cognitive biases as our interpretation of things we see live,’ Professor Stoughton said. ‘People disagree about policing and will continue to disagree about exactly what a video shows.’

“Race can also play a role. While Professor Stoughton’s work did not seek to determine how the race of the driver affected viewers’ conclusions, numerous studies have shown that some sort of conscious or unconscious bias is present in all of us, including law enforcement.”

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/04/01/us/police-bodycam-video.html