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Universities Are Vital for Bridging the Science Gap

Peter Salovey, president of Yale University, argues that the best way to transcend ideology is to teach students, regardless of their majors, to think like scientists.

"From American history to urban studies, those of us in higher education have an obligation to challenge our students to be inquisitive about the world and to weigh the quality and objectivity of data presented to them," Salovey wrote in a commentary published by Scientific American. "Most importantly, we must teach students the importance of changing their minds when confronted with contrary evidence."

Salovey said, "It is vital for the next generation of leaders in science to be aware of the psychological, social and cultural factors that affect how people understand and use information." Interdisciplinary research is essential to understanding misconceptions about science and countering false narratives.

"There is no environment more conducive for biological and physical scientists to work directly with psychologists, economists, legal scholars and others to maximize the positive impact of their research and to educate the next generation of leaders who will shape our world," Salovey wrote. "Knowledge is power, but only if people are able to analyze and compare information against their personal beliefs, are willing to champion data-driven decision-making over ideology, and have access to a wealth of data-driven research findings to inform policy discussions and decisions."

Read the full article.