How might humans react to alien life? ‘We will take it rather well’

| | February 23, 2018
Alien galaxy
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

[R]esearchers say the discovery of alien life is more likely to be welcomed with open arms than panic.

To examine public reaction to aliens, [professor Michael] Varnum and his colleagues analysed the language of 15 media articles written at the time of three discoveries which were initially suggested to be evidence of extraterrestrial life, including Nasa’s 1996 announcement of possible microbial life on a Martian meteorite.

They also analysed the responses of 500 participants recruited online to a hypothetical announcement that extraterrestrial microbial life had been discovered, both in terms of their own views and their thoughts on how humanity would react.

The results, recently published research in the journal Frontiers of Psychology, reveal that across the board positive language was more common than negative language, while extraterrestrial life was generally viewed as bringing more potential rewards than risks.

Moreover, participants’ language was more strongly titled towards the positive when it came to microbes on Mars than producing synthetic life in the lab – a finding Varum says shows that there is something special about the prospect of finding alien life.

Nonetheless, the authors say the research offers insights into how humans will react to the discovery of alien life. “If our findings provide a reasonable guide, then the answer appears to be that we will take it rather well,” they write.

Read full, original post: Earthlings likely to welcome alien life rather than panicking, study shows

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