Do science curious evolution believers and science curious nonbelievers both like to go to the science museum? How about to gun shows?
I've described highlights from the first study (a more complete report on which can be downloaded here) in some earlier posts. They include the development of a behaviorally validated "science curiosity" scale (one that itself involves performand and behavioral measures and not just self-reported interest ones), and the successful use of that scale to predict "engagement" --measured behaviorally, and not just with self-reported interest--in the cool Tangled Bank Studios documentary on evolution, Your Inner Fish.
Stay tuned for more reports about our findings in this ongoing project.
But for now, consider these interesting findings about the power of "SCS_1.0," the science curiosity scale we constructed, to predict one or another types of behavior.
The graphic shows, not surprisingly, that those who are more science curious are way more likely to do things like read science books and attend science museums.
Probably not that surprisingly, they might be slightly more likely to do other things, too, like go to an amusement park-- or even a gun show than science uncurious people. But they really aren't much more likely to do those thngs than the average member of the population.
In addition to estimating the predicted mean probabilities for these activities conditional on science curiosity for the entire sample (a large nationally represenative one), I've also estimated the predicted mean probabilities for individuals who say they "do" and "don't believe in" human evolution:
One of the coolest things we found in ESFI Study No. 1 was that science curious individuals who "disbelieve in" evolution were just as engaged as science curious individuals who do believe in evolution. In addition, they were both substantially more engaged than their science-noncurious counterparts, most of whom yawned and turned the show off after a couple of minutes, no doubt hoping that the survey would resume its focus on Honey Boo Boo, "Inflate-gate," and other non-science related topics used to winnow out those less interested in science than in other interesting things.
Individuals who "disbelieve" in evolution but who were high in science curiosity also indicated that they found the information in the documentary clip valid and convincing as an account of the origins of human color vision.
Of course, that didn't "change their minds" on evolution. Their beliefs on that measure who they are—not what they know about science or what more they’d like to know about what human beings have discovered using science's signature methods of disciplined observation and inference. The experience of watching the cool Your Inner Fish clip satisfied their appetite to know what science knows but it didn't make them into different people!
Indeed, I think it likely succeeded in the former precisely because it didn't evince any interest in accomplishing the latter. It didn't put science curious people who have an identity associated with disbelief in evolution in the position of having to choose between being who they are and knowing what science knows.
Satisfying this criterion, which I've taken to calling the "disentanglement principle," is, I believe, a key element of successful science communication in pluralistic liberal society (Kahan 2015a, 2015b).
Anyway, check out what evolution believers & disbelievers do in their free time conditional on having the same level of science curiosity.
Many of the same things -- but not all!
I have ideas about what this means. But I'm out of time for today! So how about you tell me what you make of this?