Humans Would Be Cool with Finding Aliens

Posted by K R on

If extraterrestrial life is ever discovered, humanity would probably be pretty cool with it. A new study, one of very few of its kind, finds that people typically respond quite positively to the notion of life on other planets. The study investigated the possibility of finding microbial extraterrestrials, not intelligent E.T.s, so people's responses might be a little different if they were told an armada of aliens were headed toward Earth, cautioned study author Michael Varnum, a psychologist at Arizona State University. Nevertheless, he noted, large portions of people believe that intelligent aliens do exist and that they've visited Earth; so even a more dramatic announcement might not ruffle feathers. "What this suggests is, there's no reason to be afraid" of sharing news of astrobiology with the public, Varnum told Live Science. "We won't collapse. We're not going to have chaos in the streets." Are we alone? How people would respond to finding they're not alone in the universe is a perennial question, but one that has been the subject of far more speculation than study, Varnum said. He could find only one study that asked people how they thought they'd react to the announcement of extraterrestrial life, and it was a decade old. Varnum wanted to tackle the question a bit more realistically. So he turned to the real-world news, analyzing articles dating back to 1967 that looked at discoveries that could potentially have hinted at alien life (including — full disclosure — articles by Live Science's sister site Space.com on a star with irregular brightness cycles that might have signaled extraterrestrial activity, but the irregular cycles more likely result from orbiting dust).

Read More: Live Science


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