May 2, 2007
University of Wisconsin Survey says Americans Defer to Scientists
When it comes to forming opinions on controversial scientific issues, Americans show a strong deference to the views of the scientific community, according to a study co-authored by a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher.
Dominique Brossard, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, says a random survey of 1,500 New York state residents shows they lean heavily on scientists as they form opinions on agricultural biotechnology. . . .
Brossard says the American educational system is where citizens learn to lean heavily on the scientific community for answers on science policy.
"Transmitted to citizens by the educational system and popular culture, deference to scientific authority … means that when science controversies do occur, deference likely generates among Americans an almost natural pro-science or pro-technology view," according to the research, published in the spring 2007 International Journal of Public Opinion Research.
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