A new study finds that people are more likely to recognize scientific cultures than their counterparts from other cultures.
This is especially true when it comes to the study of scientific literature, according to a study by University of California, Davis linguistics professor Michael Shull.
Shull and his colleagues analyzed a study published in the Journal of Scientific Literature on the use of the term scientific culture in American popular culture.
The study focused on the terms science,science literacy,science culture and science culture.
In the study, Shull surveyed 2,400 adults from a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population to see how their understanding of science varied across different scientific cultures.
The researchers found that people from scientific cultures were more likely than those from other cultural backgrounds to recognize science literacy and science cultural aspects.
For example, the average American adult from a scientific culture was more likely, on average, to recognize that science literacy was a basic skill that a person should be able to attain, than people from other types of cultural backgrounds.
But the study found that there were also significant differences in how science literacy across scientific cultures was perceived.
People from science cultures were generally more likely in general to view science literacy as a basic, universal, and nonnegotiable skill, while people from non-scientific cultures were less likely to do so.
“People from science cultural backgrounds were more comfortable and more willing to believe in the existence of science as a fact, but they were less willing to accept the scientific community as a community, and they were more accepting of other types in general,” Shull told ScienceInsider.
“They also tended to be more willing and able to accept other kinds of cultural norms as part of their scientific cultures.”
The findings suggest that scientific cultures, as distinct from other culturally developed social groups, are not the same as the ones we encounter in our everyday lives.
“When we talk about scientific cultures in the public sphere, we often associate them with science fiction, fantasy, or fantasy-type narratives,” Shihull said.
“But the majority of people who are familiar with scientific cultures have no familiarity with science-based narratives and beliefs.”
“In our society, science and science-related topics are very frequently intertwined with the politics of social justice and gender equity,” Shiff said.
The research also suggests that cultural differences can lead to more polarized responses to scientific information.
“For example, some people are less likely than others to believe that climate change is real, but people who have strong social justice beliefs tend to accept climate change as a scientific fact, rather than as a matter of social injustice,” Shuell said.
Shuhl said his findings suggest there is a need for researchers to take a more objective approach when exploring the cultural context of scientific communication.
“We need to take into account the context of the communication, not the content of the communications,” he said.
For instance, it’s often difficult to determine if someone’s understanding of a scientific topic stems from a specific culture or is simply based on what they hear from other people.
“That’s where the research of science literacy comes in,” Shuhll said, “to understand how people interpret and interpret scientific content and to help people to engage with scientific communication.”
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