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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 BStroms ( 1875462 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @04:51PM (#40703961)

    Skimming the article, it doesn't even seem they considered a very real possibility. That political bias doesn't affect how people perceive temperature, but that people tend to answer polls in a way that reflects well on their personal beliefs even if they know that answer isn't entirely truthful.

  • by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Thursday July 19, 2012 @04:53PM (#40704013) Homepage Journal

    The data is behind a paywall (click the PDF link in the abstract). Welcome to the world of scientific journals.

  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @04:59PM (#40704081)
    Look at a political map of the US, and what's the first thing that pops out at you? A lot more conservatives live in the southern US. Most of the places where conservatives tend to live are warm, while liberals tend to live in cooler areas. People in areas that are normally cooler would be more likely to notice an increase in temperature than people in areas that are generally warmer. Personally, I'm used to 80%+ humidity and upper 90s-low 100s myself, so this summer has actually seemed pretty mild in comparison to what I'm used to. But that has nothing to do with whether or not I believe in global warming. It has more to do with the kind of weather I am acclimated to.
  • by Greenspark ( 2652053 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @05:09PM (#40704227)
    That kind of bias is present in any self-reported survey. The findings should discuss what the population 'reported' and not what they 'believe.' Obviously, the article is also biased in it's title -- declaring that ideology shapes perception. It could also be concluded that perception determines ideology. In one paradigm, your affiliations warp what you perceive, and in another paradigm, you chose to affiliate with those who share your perceptions-- accurate or otherwise. So they need to remember that correlation doesn't imply causality.
  • by slew ( 2918 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @05:16PM (#40704317)

    My personal opinion is that this whole exercise isn't much different than asking a person if they thought the price of milk or the price of gas went up more in the last decade (or similar question).

    I'd wager that most people wouldn't have any clue because the random person doesn't pay any attention to these things, so they would guess. That guess would likely not depend at all on any variable except their political beliefs.

  • by IndigoDarkwolf ( 752210 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @05:22PM (#40704379)
    The abstract concludes that talking about changes in precipitation are more likely to convince people of climate change.

    Sure it will. Until their favored politicians tell them one way or the other, at which point I'll bet dollars to yuan that the same statistical anomaly appears for perceptions in precipitation change.
  • by Quirkz ( 1206400 ) <ross.quirkz@com> on Thursday July 19, 2012 @06:59PM (#40705355) Homepage
    That's not certain groups, that's almost universal. It takes a certain enlightenment to be able to understand people you disagree with or explain their positions without demonizing them. Very few people seem to be able to do that.

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