Hexbyte Glen Cove People prefer 'natural' strategies to reduce atmospheric carbon thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove People prefer ‘natural’ strategies to reduce atmospheric carbon

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Soil carbon storage, carbon capture and storage, biochar—mention these terms to most people, and a blank stare might be the response.

But frame these change mitigation strategies as being clean and green approaches to reversing the dangerous warming of our planet, and people might be more inclined to at least listen—and even to back these efforts.

A cross-disciplinary collaboration led by Jonathon Schuldt, associate professor of communication at Cornell University, found that a majority of the U.S. public is supportive of soil as a climate change mitigation strategy, particularly when that and similar approaches are seen as “natural” strategies.

“To me, that psychology part—that’s really interesting,” Schuldt said. “What would lead people, especially if they’re unfamiliar with these different strategies, to support one more than the other? Our study and others suggest that a big part of it is whether people see it as natural.”

The group’s paper, “Perceptions of Naturalness Predict U.S. Public Support for Soil Carbon Storage as a Climate Solution,” published May 26 in the journal Climatic Change. Co-authors include Johannes Lehmann, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS), Soil and Crop Sciences Section (CALS); Dominic Woolf, senior research associate in SIPS; Shannan Sweet, postdoctoral associate in the Lehmann Lab; and Deborah Bossio of the Nature Conservancy.

Schuldt’s team analyzed results from a survey of 1,222 U.S. adults who reported believing in climate change at least “somewhat,” to estimate for soil carbon storage and how it compares to other leading carbon dioxide removal strategies.

Mitigation strategies—solar and , electric vehicles and sustainable land use and biodiversity, to name a few—are already capturing much attention as the world grapples with rising temperatures, melting ice caps and increasingly violent weather events.

Survey data came from an online poll conducted Sept. 19 to Oct. 4, 2019, by NORC at the University of Chicago, a leading survey research firm. The team solicited respondents’ perceptions of naturalness and policy support for five CO2 removal strategies: afforestation and reforestation; bioenergy plus and storage; direct air capture; soil carbon storage; and soil carbon storage with biochar. Each respondent viewed a randomized group of three options and was asked to estimate the likelihood that they’d support that strategy.

They were also asked to rate their level of agreement with each of five statements related to humans’ tampering with nature.

In the final analysis, perceived naturalness was a strong indicator of support for soil carbon storage as a climate change mitigation strategy. Of the five CO2 removal strategies, support was highest (73%) for afforestation and reforestation; carbon storage ranked second, supported by 62% of those polled.

And in this politically divided time, Schuldt said, support for crossed the aisle. A total of 72% who identified as Democrats supported the ; among Republicans, 52% were in support.

“We expected, and found, that Democrats support all kinds of climate strategies more than Republicans do,” Schuldt said. “But the error I think we sometimes make is that we categorize all Democrats as being for it, and all Republicans as being against it. That’s not true.”

Ultimately, Schuldt said, the goal is to allow policymakers to present the public with palatable options for addressing climate change.

“There is a whole range of solutions out there,” he said. “Then the question politically becomes, where do you start? Which one has the most buy-in? I think our data help speak to that.”



More information:
Shannan K. Sweet et al, Perceptions of naturalness predict US public support for Soil Carbon Storage as a climate solution, Climatic Change (2021). DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03121-0

Citation:
People prefer ‘natural’ strategies to reduce atmospheric carbon (2021, May 26)
retrieved 27 May 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-05-people-natural-strategies-atmospheric-carbon.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Dogs may never learn that every sound of a word matters thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Dogs may never learn that every sound of a word matters

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: Vivien Reicher

Despite their excellent auditory capacities, dogs do not attend to differences between words that differ only in one phoneme (e.g., “dog” vs “dig”), according to a new study by Hungarian researchers of the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest (ELTE). In the study, they measured brain activity with non-invasive electroencephalography (EEG) on conscious dogs. This might be a reason why the number of words dogs learn to recognize typically remains low throughout their life. The study is published in Royal Society Open Science.

Dogs can distinguish human speech sounds (e.g. “d,” “o” and “g”) and there are similarities in the neuronal processing of words between and humans. However, most of the dogs can learn only a few words throughout their lives even if they live in a human family and are exposed to human speech. Magyari and her colleagues hypothesized that despite dogs’ human-like auditory capacities for analyzing speech sounds, they might be less ready to attend to all differences between speech sounds when they listen to words.

To test this idea, the researchers developed a procedure for measuring in the noninvasively on conscious, untrained family dogs. Electroencephalography (EEG) is a common procedure in human clinical and research studies and it has been also successfully applied on tranquilized, sleeping or conscious but trained dogs. However, in this study, the researchers measured EEG on conscious dogs without any specific training.

The researchers invited dogs and their owners to the lab. After the dog became familiar with the room and the experimenters, the experimenters asked the owner to sit down on a mattress together with her dog to relax. Then, the experimenters put electrodes on the dog’s head and fixed it with a tape. The dogs then listened to tape-recorded instruction words they knew (e.g., “sit”), to similar but nonsense words (e.g., “sut”), and to very different nonsense words (e.g., “bep”).

Electroencephalography (EEG) is an often used technique in human clinical and research studies and it has been also successfully applied on tranquilized, sleeping or awake but trained dogs. However, in this study, the researchers measured EEG on awake dogs without any specific training. Credit: Elodie Ferrando

“The electroencephalography is a sensitive method not only to but also to muscle movements. Therefore, we had to make sure that dogs tense their muscles as little as possible during measurement. We also wanted to include any type of family dogs in our study, not only specially trained animals. Therefore, we decided that instead of training our dog participants, we will ask them just to relax. Of course, some of the dogs who came to the experiment could not settle down and did not let us do the measurement. But the from the study was similar to the dropout rate in EEG studies with human infants. It was also an exciting process for us to learn how we can create a relaxing and safe atmosphere in the lab for both the dogs and their owners,” says lead author Lilla Magyari, postdoctoral researcher at Department of Ethology, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary.

The analysis of the recorded electric brain activity showed that dog brains clearly and quickly discriminated the known words from the very different nonsense words starting from 200 ms after the beginning of the words. This effect is in line with similar studies on humans showing that the human brain responds differently to meaningful and nonsense words already within a few hundred milliseconds.

But the dogs’ brains made no differentiation between known words and those nonsense words that differed in a single speech sound only. This pattern is more similar to the results of experiments with human infants who are around 14 months. Infants become efficient in processing phonetic details of words, which is an important prerequisite for developing a large vocabulary between 14 and 20 months. But younger infants do not process phonetic details of words in certain experimental and word learning situations despite the fact that infants are able to differentiate speech sounds perceptually within weeks after birth.

“Similarly to the case of human infants, we speculate that the similarity of dogs’ brain activity for instruction words they know and for similar nonsense words reflects not perceptual constraints but attentional and processing biases. Dogs might not attend to all details of speech sound when they listen to words. Further research could reveal whether this could be what incapacitates dogs from acquiring a sizable vocabulary,” says Attila Andics, principal investigator of the MTA-ELTE “Lendület’ Neuroethology of Communication Research Group.



More information:
Event-related potentials reveal limited readiness to access phonetic details during word processing in dogs, Royal Society Open Science (2020). royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.200851

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Eötvös Loránd University

Citation:
Dogs may never learn that every sound of a word matters (2020, December 8)
retrieved 9 December 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-12-dogs-word.html

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