Thursday, September 19, 2013

Storms crashing on peoples' heads can fill some information deficits on climate

A study of Rutgers University students testing their automatic attitude preferences for environmental politicians versus anti-tax politicians found a significant shift to the environmental candidate after Hurricanes Irene and Sandy (full article behind paywall). Physical evidence literally hitting you in the face may satisfy the information deficit. Hopefully someone can check on Colorado in a little while.

I'm pretty certain that in 50 years, the number of climate deniers will be similar to the number of Flat Earthers no matter how well or poorly we communicate the issue. Objective reality has a role to play. The issue is how much sooner than 50 years  from now we can get people to take required action.

Following up on Eli's post on the Kahan paper, I have a thought experiment to follow up Kahan's study:  what if immediately after the subjects had completed the study, the researchers explained to them how the math actually works and then asked them if they wanted to revise their answers? It seems highly likely there would be a tremendous shift to the correct answer (and if the low numeracy people didn't shift, that tends to support Michael Tobis' view). This result would support the information deficit model. It's questionable how closely this resembles what happens in the real world, but the same could be said about Kahan's setup.

Obviously framing and psychological identity play a role in getting us to confront climate change soon, but so does the science, and so does the exposure of bad arguments used to deny the science.


Anonymous said...

Albatross said...

Sorry Brian, this does not apply to Roger junior.

Roger junior is in flat out denial, even though Roger junior junior has no school because of the floods.

cRR Kampen said...

Of course. Confrontation is the ONLY way the lesson will be learned. Haphazardly and regional at first.

This is why we need Australia to burn out entirely, which is real possibility this year.
This is why we need more Sandy-like disasters, though no longer for New York/New Jersey because they got the message.
We need 'Floods of the century' to strike even quicker than twice per decennium (as in Central Europe, Australia, parts of south Asia).

Et cetera. Bring it on. Tell you this, Holland is in great want of some huge river floods, I mean a milleniumevent and that would mean something here.

Consolation: this is not gonna take fifty years. Given today's crescendo of CAGW events ten years should be enough.

Anonymous said...

Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses.[Note 1][1] People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. They also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation and memory have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a greater reliance on information encountered early in a series) and illusory correlation (when people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations).

A series of experiments in the 1960s suggested that people are biased toward confirming their existing beliefs. Later work re-interpreted these results as a tendency to test ideas in a one-sided way, focusing on one possibility and ignoring alternatives. In certain situations, this tendency can bias people's conclusions. Explanations for the observed biases include wishful thinking and the limited human capacity to process information. Another explanation is that people show confirmation bias because they are weighing up the costs of being wrong, rather than investigating in a neutral, scientific way.

Confirmation biases contribute to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain or strengthen beliefs in the face of contrary evidence. Poor decisions due to these biases have been found in political and organizational contexts.

Dr. Demento

Anonymous said...

Dr. D

Brian said...

Dr. D - no disagreement here. But people do change their minds sometimes, with great difficulty. Even me on occasion.

Albatross said...

Roger is being entertaining again, hope the bunnies are enjoying the series of Roger's posts that in which he is by no means playing down the impact and awful devastation and loss of life caused by the recent Colorado floods. I just posted this at his blog:

"Roger et al.,

It has been, shall we say, intriguing watching the back-and-forth banter ;) Roger's latest post rails against the term "consistent with" calling it a canard.

I'm afraid that you guys mistaken and confused about McKitrick's outdated figure (that figure was "leaked" almost a year ago now). Let me revisit the timeline.

1) I noted that Roger's simplistic attempt to compare the model output with global temperatures falls short (please don't ask me explain why again, but it has to do with including representing the ranges). This met with evasion by Roger.

2) At #36 Roger attempts to retort by linking to the outdated (and incorrect) IPCC graphic used by McKitrick in his ongoing disinformation campaign and vendetta against climate science. Roger claims that:

"...with respect to the data presented in this post, it is consistent with that presented in the draft of the upcoming IPCC."

No, the data in Roger's post are not consistent with that outdated draft figure-- Roger's simple figure has its own issues. The outdated draft figure has a noteworthy problem that is being exploited by McKitrick to misinform. Yet Roger is happy to state that his simple representation of the data in his post are consistent with the incorrect (outdated) IPCC figure used by McKitrick to mislead.

3) Eli tries to help again @40 by noting that the outdated figure Roger linked to @36 has a very real problem that does affect the results and/or the interpretation of the figure.

4) Roger's supporters are having none of that factual stuff. Mark jumps to Roger's defence claiming that noting the problem with the incorrect draft version of the graphic is just an attempt by Eli to obscure the issue by point out "irrelevant "mistakes". Incorrect.

5) Roger @47 is then quick to thank Mike for pointing out this. Dear me, what a tangled web you have woven.

Folks, it is Roger who trotted out (i.e., linked to) that outdated and erroneous graphic used by McKitrick to misinform. It is Roger who stated that his graphic "is consistent with" the the erroneous figure. The errors in the graphic are not irrelevant, yet Roger was keen to associate/link his figure to that troubled figure, going so far as to claim that they were consistent with each other.

Roger declares on his own blog that using the term "consistent with" is a canard.
So at the same time Roger is eager to associate himself with the figure used by McKitrick to misinform, by saying his data "are consistent with" Roger is in fact (by his own admission) claiming that doing so is a canard.

He really seems to be tying himself in knots in his attempt to obfuscate and have a self-serving dig at climate science (whilst also providing some fodder for the fake skeptics). The reality is that his whole sad endeavour by Roger is a canard.

I do not expect subsequent posts to fix Roger's tangled web, it will likely just be more of the same canards.

Oh, and thanks Roger!

PS: Mike and Jim, Prof. Pierrehumbert's book "Principles of Planetary Climate" will address many of your questions and misunderstandings. "