Humans will react well to news of alien life

Humans will react well to news of alien life

Humans will react well to news of alien life

"If we came face to face with life outside of Earth, we would actually be pretty upbeat about it", said co-author Michael Varnum, an assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University.

Varnum makes this conclusion based on an analysis of newspaper articles covering past potential discoveries of extraterrestrial life. Through the work, they aimed to evaluate the nature of our response to encountering aliens by analyzing reactions using a software program that quantifies feelings, emotions, drives and other psychological states in written texts.

Language in these articles showed significantly more positive than negative emotions, the team found.

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In the first scenario, around 500 people were asked to write about their own hypothetical reactions to an announcement that alien microbial life had been discovered, while the second experiment involved an additional sample group of more than 500 people who were presented with past news coverage of scientific discoveries and asked to write about their reactions. In the case of both their own reaction and everyone else's, the participants hypothesized responses that were more positive than negative.

He said the findings show that "taken together, this suggests if we find out we're not alone, we'll take the news rather well". "It would be exciting even if it was a primitive form".

They also conducted experiments involving two groups of participants. If word ever breaks of an imminent extraterrestrial invasion, "War of the Worlds" or "Independence Day" style, we're likely to express a few more negative emotions.

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His studies suggest people would take comfort in knowing there is life outside Earth as well as finding it exciting.

In unpublished findings that will be presented February 17 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Austin, Texas, the team analyzed recent media reports on the possibility that the interstellar 'Oumuamua asteroid might actually be a spaceship. They found language in the stories demonstrated much more positive emotion than fear or other negative emotions.

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