Confirmation bias

Actively Open-Minded Thinking vs. Science Curiosity on Climate Change: New at Reason

Liberal and conservative "science curious" people are less polarized over scientific issues



Americans remain deeply divided along partisan lines on the issue of climate change, according to a new Pew Research Center poll. Seven in 10 liberal Democrats trust climate scientists to give full and accurate information on the causes of climate change, whereas only 15 percent of conservative Republicans do. Why this partisan difference over what is essentially an empirical question? Recent social science research suggests that this type of polarization tends to occur when accepting or rejecting a scientific thesis becomes a signal to your fellow partisans that you're on their side. Now new research finds that actively open-minded thinking by partisans actually increases polarization. So when it comes to politically polarized scientific disputes, does this mean that all sophisticated reasoning tends toward confirmation bias? Not for folks who are "science curious."