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Earth Science Politics

Political Ideology Shapes How People Perceive Temperature 193

benfrog writes "In what likely isn't that much of a surprise, a study has shown that political ideology shapes how we perceive temperature changes (but not drought/flooding conditions). (An abstract of the study is here. 8,000 individuals were asked about temperatures and drought/flood events in recent years, then their political leanings. Answers regarding drought/flood events tended to follow the actual changes in conditions, while answers regarding temperature tended to follow people's political beliefs."
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Political Ideology Shapes How People Perceive Temperature

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  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @04:49PM (#40703937) Homepage

    Basic cognitive dissonance modelling has demonstrated repeatedly that when a person encounters incontrovertible facts that contradict deeply held beliefs, the facts are discarded.

  • by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @04:49PM (#40703941)

    To quote TFA:

    In fact, the actual trends in temperatures had nothing to do with how people perceived them. If you graphed the predictive power of people's perceptions against the actual temperatures, the resulting line was flat—it showed no trend at all. In the statistical model, the actual weather had little impact on people's perception of recent temperatures. Education continued to have a positive impact on whether they got it right, but its magnitude was dwarfed by the influences of political affiliation and cultural beliefs.

    And those cultural affiliations had about the effect you'd expect. Individualists, who often object to environmental regulations as an infringement on their freedoms, tended to think the temperatures hadn't gone up in their area, regardless of whether they had. Strong egalitarians, in contrast, tended to believe the temperatures had gone up.

    So nope, no matter what your political beliefs, your perception of the temperature is wrong (unless, possibly, you have neutral beliefs, I don't see anything that mentions that).

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @05:35PM (#40704549)
    From what I've read, the global-warming theories call for unpredictable temperature swings - hot and cold - as the planet adjusts, so extreme cold at times is expected...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19, 2012 @05:37PM (#40704587)

    1) Any particular year could just be a fluke. Anyone who claims a hot/cool year is evidence for/against climate change is completely ignorant of basic climate science and/or thinks you are.
    2) "So maybe we're experiencing both global warming and cooling at the same time!" -- That is exactly correct -- the climate is changing. Parts will get hotter, parts will get cooler. The overall trend is up, hence the name "global warming". We're going to lose some arable land but we'll gain some as well. What scares me is sea level rise -- take a look at population density maps over the world to see what I mean.
    3) There is no good faith debate on whether the climate is changing, and practically none on whether it is the result of human activities. But that doesn't mean that every climate scientist with a model knows the future, or that any particular prediction is correct. What we do know for sure is that human activities are having measurable effects on a highly chaotic system on which we depend for the survival of our civilization. I like to keep my experiments in the lab.

  • by joocemann ( 1273720 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @09:06PM (#40706509)

    People with higher education, especially in sciences, tend to be more left/liberal/democrat/socialist. This is common knowledge.

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