Are You Biased? Research Says Blog Comments & Search Engines Alter Perception

According to an article published in the journal Science entitled “Science, New Media, and the Public” by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers Dominique Brossard and Dietram A. Scheufele, blog comments and the autocomplete suggestions provided by search engines (such as Google Instant results) may produce a psychological bias that alter the way people interpret and make sense of scientific information on the Internet.

As mentioned by Brossard and Scheufele, non-traditional sources of information such as blogs, have become a primary source of information about science for people; with around fifty-percent of Americans relying on them instead of other online sources. Additionally, ninety-percent of Internet users in the United States depend on search engines to discover this information.

Considering these numbers and the importance of scientific knowledge to society, an obligation may fall upon online publishers to make sure that their readers are presented with accurate information, and are subject to as little bias as possible. It therefore may behoove publishers reporting on science to take the necessary actions to mitigate the bias their readers will face by disabling comments, providing an alternative means of discourse, or altering other site features.
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Horror + Art = the Sublime Experience

It’s not news to those who know me that I am a huge movie buff and an avid fan of horror films. I also very much enjoy looking at art and going to art museums. In fact, an ideal day for me would probably involve a nice scary movie and a trip to the MoMA.

Researchers Kendall J. Eskine, Natalie A. Kacinik, and Jesse J. Prinz recently published a most intriguing article in the academic journal Emotion entitled Stirring Images: Fear, Not Happiness or Arousal, Makes Art More Sublime about their study that investigated “the emotional basis of sublime experiences (i.e., the experience of perceiving something that evokes feelings of astonishment and amazement) in an effort to determine which emotions underlie awe-inspiring experiences when viewing works of art” (Eskine et al.).
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