this is how the perception of science changed in 2020 – Explica .co
Today took place the presentation of the results of the last Survey on the social perception of science made by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT). It took place around a round table, moderated by the editor-in-chief of Agencia Sinc, Pampas García Molina, in which the Minister of Science of the Spanish government also intervened, Pedro Duque, the sociologist co-director of the study, Josep lobera; and the project coordinator at FECYT, Rosa Capeáns.
This survey was carried out every two years since 2002. Therefore, the last one was carried out in 2018. But, without a doubt, this is a special year, as the data was collected between July and October 2020, so it showed how it affected the Coronavirus pandemic to society’s perception of science and technology in Spain.
The results are divided into six blocks, mainly common to previous years, although with small variations in approach due to the pandemic situation.
The results of the latest FECYT survey
This survey was carried out with interviews of approximately 25 minutes, carried out at 8,000 people major directly to your home.
The results are broken down by factors such as gender, age or level of education.
Are the Spaniards interested in science?
The first block aims to verify the Interest level of Spanish in science and technology.
Men seem more interested in science and technology in general and women more particularly in health
To do this, the spontaneous interest. In other words, the FECYT investigators asked the participants to say, without thinking, three subjects that interested them a lot. Science was among the three responses of about 14% of participants, so it is quite comparable to other very relevant topics, such as education and economics, with about 15% and 16% respectively.
This numbers they are not very different from 2018. However, it is striking that 46.2% they gave the pandemic as their first response. Everyone at the roundtable agreed that this, in a way, also includes science.
Finally, it should be noted that the percentage of men interested in science is significantly higher than that of women, with 19% against 10%. Given these data, Josep Lobera clarified that the interest in health and the pandemic has been greater among women, so it is still science, but named in a different way.
However, Pedro Duque considers that there is a fundamental problem, for which it is necessary to influence the awareness strategies for children, so that they understand that they and they can devote themselves to any profession and that there are no specialties for men or women.
The image of science and scientists
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In line with previous years, it emerges that the population has a good esteem for scientists, but at the same time considers that your work is not sufficiently recognized.
A large majority believe that we are not investing enough in science. In addition, as a result, approximately 66% think Spain is late in its scientific output, compared to the European average. Here, Pedro Duque provided a clarification, making it clear that the quality of Spanish scientists is not inferior to that of other countries, but that there is a funding problem that they hope to solve with the Pact for Science and Technology. innovation.
Finally, it is worth highlighting a big change in the intention of citizens to collaborate with donations for science funding. About 28% have expressed their willingness to participate in these collaborations, while 31% would like to do so, but cannot. This is data 10 to 11 points higher than last year’s FECYT survey, indicating that the pandemic has influenced society’s opinion on the importance of scientific research.
The important role of the media
As every year since 2002, the main route taken by the Spanish population to learn about scientific news remains TV.
Television is the preferred medium for most of the population to learn about science
However, it appears from the age breakdowns that a large majority of younger age groups use the Internet.
This year, in addition, a question was added on the preferred means of communication of the population for learn about the pandemic. The results are the same as for other scientific subjects. Television preferably, but internet for the youngest.
This is where the debate on the importance for the population to have reliable means of communication both ways and, in turn, that researchers disseminate more and better through them.
And the pseudosciences?
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Like every year, one of the most commented blocks of this FECYT survey is society’s perception of therapies without scientific evidence.
Confidence in pseudo-therapies has dropped slightly this year
Public confidence in them has declined slightly compared to the previous year. This could be the result of awareness campaigns that have been launched in recent years. However, the number of people who admit to using them has hardly changed and has even increased slightly.
Fortunately, the majority of people who admit to having used pseudo-therapy have done so. without abandoning medical treatment. Additionally, much has been done for symptoms such as pain or anxiety and not for serious illnesses, such as cancer. Only 1% admit that the last time they used pseudo-therapy was to treat the condition.
This block also includes confidence in treatments with scientific evidence. Logically, at the time of data collection, it was still too early to know the perception towards coronavirus vaccines, but Lobera got a taste of another FECYT survey that has yet to be released that specifically addresses this issue.
It can be seen that in July 2020, 33% of the population had a radical reluctance to be vaccinated, against 32% who were sure they would. However, with the start of vaccination in the UK, the first figure dropped sharply to 9% and the second to 58%. And the results have continued to improve, since recently, in May, the percentages were already at 4% for those who refuse to be vaccinated and 87% for those who will do so with certainty.
Will robots take away our jobs?
An important part of the social perception of science refers to how the population sees the progress made in robotics and artificial intelligence.
Much of the population fears losing the privacy of their data due to artificial intelligence
In fact, when these started to emerge, there was a lot of talk about the possibility that they could hinder people’s ease in accessing certain jobs. Indeed, according to the FECYT survey, 53% of those questioned think that robotization risks the jobs outweigh the benefits. 34% think the opposite and 13% have no opinion on the issue.
Robotization may not eliminate jobs, but it changes them. Therefore, respondents were asked if they thought they were ready to use new technologies that fit into the work environment. 53%, on average, think so. The percentage rises to 70% for those with a university education, but falls to 20% for workers with primary education.
As for the possible data manipulation, 68% of respondents believe we risk this happening. In addition, this concern has increased compared to previous years.
What does the FECYT survey say about the environment and climate change?
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The last block of the FECYT survey analyzes the perception of the Spanish population on environmental problems.
Fortunately, a good chunk of them, around 84%, think climate change is a problem. serious or very serious. In addition, 67% indicate consumption as the main trigger. Now have we reacted?
According to the survey, yes, since 48% say they have bought or stopped buying certain products in order to benefits the environment. In addition, 10% claimed to have participated in some type of event related to climate change.
Finally, it remains to be seen who will save us from climate change, apart from our own social conscience and government intervention. the FECYT survey It’s all about science, which is why its participants were asked if technological intervention could help solve the problem. 46% think so.