As everything, scientists are also stereotyped subjects: from the mad doctor who wants to dominate the world to the brilliant but clueless scientist who wears a white coat and has his hair shot towards all the cardinal points of the world.
To assess the scope of these stereotypes and how it affects the communication of science among the population, a survey of the Pew Research Among Americans. These are the results.
The feeling of Americans about their scientists is very significant, according to the following table of attributions assigned to the average scientist. In the survey, Americans were presented with a list of five desirable and five not-so-desirable qualities and wondered if each one describes scientists well.
Approximately nine out of ten (89%) of respondents think scientists are smart. Three quarters (75%) see scientists as focused on solving real-world problems. Good at working in a team (72%), honest (71%), good communicators (54), feel superior (43), socially withdrawn (43), don't care about moral values (32), are cold (29) , are stubborn (26).
Also, the more the respondents know about science, more critical are when assessing how scientists communicate. About half of those with high scientific knowledge (47%) say that research scientists are good communicators, compared with 62% of those with low scientific knowledge. Perhaps it is because they know what scientists intend to convey but do not achieve it correctly or profitably.
It is important to evaluate and combat these stereotypes for several reasonsThey could undermine public confidence in scientists or dissuade various groups of people from seeking education and jobs in the field of science. Perhaps we should emphasize an unpopular idea: science is not scientists. Science exists precisely to overcome the limitations of people, also of the scientists themselves.