Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Opinions Not Backed By Facts: Changing Paradigms

One of the biggest hurdles in research is the fact that lay people tend to have opinions about a subject without regarding the scientific literature. Therefore, a paradigm is created that is contrary to actual scientific findings. Historically this has occurred readily as when the world was discovered to be round instead of flat, or that the earth revolved around the sun and was not the only planet in the universe. Many scientists were killed over the years for revealing a "new findings". We see the resistance to new findings currently in dream research as people hold onto their paradigms. For example, there is a large body of literature that has shown that dream imagery is: a) linked to mental illness, b) specific to illnesses, and c) can aid in both diagnosis and treatment. For examples from the literature see: Beck, 1971; Bonime, 1962, Boss & Kenney, 1987; Brown & Donderi, 1986; Cartwright et al., 2006; Crook & Hill, 2003; Flowers & Zweben, 1996. As we study the scientific literature we can see that research findings reveal information that people cannot always accept; even when the findings are clear and repeated often. How can scientists help change the paradigms that popular culture hold when new research findings are revealed?

52 comments:

  1. I think one of the major barriers preventing the acceptance of certain scientific findings is the media. Unfortunately, people who are not academics or professionals in the field of science (lay people) do not often read the scientific literature - they obtain their information from media outlets such as the news or daytime shows such as Dr. Oz. A great deal of information on these shows is biased and often incorrect (Dr. Oz is known to have mentioned things on his show which are scientifically incorrect, which is the reason I am singling his show out). Therefore, I think one of the best ways scientists can help change the paradigms that pop culture holds is actually publishing their findings in popular media such as on the discovery channel, in Science or Nature magazine or having their findings featured on the news or daytime talk shows. Making their new research findings more accessible to the general public, I believe, would help in changing existing views (I realize scientific literature is accessible to the public but lay people often do not read this literature, so by "accessible" I mean publishing the findings in a place where the public will encounter it in their daily lives).

    Changing the opinions of the public is a difficult task, as people generally resist change. In terms of dream imagery and mental illness, I noticed from this Monday's blog postings that the bloggers often refuted the possibility of using dream imagery to diagnose mental disorders. They cited the DSM as a more appropriate diagnostic tool. This is a perfect example of people resisting change. I am not putting anybody down by saying this, I too cited the DSM as the best diagnostic tool and said that dream imagery should only be used as an aid. I think that the reason the DSM is so widely accepted is because it has reliability, validity, and has been standardized. If researchers went through the reliability/validity/standardization process with dream imagery as a diagnostic tool and then published this information in popular media, people may warm up to the idea of using dream imagery in diagnosing mental disorders.

    My question though, is, if you can use dream imagery to distinguish between different disorders, can you use dream imagery to distinguish between the absence or presence of a mental disorder? For example, does someone with depression have dreams that are not possible for me (someone without depression) to have? If so, how can you prove that someone without a mental disorder cannot ever have this type of imagery? I think these are main questions which are preventing me from changing my own views.

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    1. I liked the first point about more science in the media. If it was done right (i.e. not Dr. Oz) then it has a lot of potential!

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  2. I agree with a lot of what Lauren said. People in general are resistant to change, especially if their opinion is based on their own life experiences. For example, research has shown that people dream every night during REM sleep (as mentioned in this week’s lecture). I know quite a few people who still insist that they don’t dream at all. I try to persuade them that they likely dream and just can’t remember, but because they don’t remember their dreams they don’t believe they are having dreams.

    As Lauren mentioned, people are inclined to believe what they hear in the media. Often information in the media is inaccurate. For example I have heard far too many news casts reporting research that “proves X causes Y…” however, after consulting the actual literature, I realize that they are referring to a correlational study, which only supports that X is related to Y. I think the most important step for research being accepted is for it to be accurately reported in the media, and easily accessible to laypeople.

    I think another way to combat resistance is to show people trends in a way that they cannot dismiss, which is partially what this class is doing for me. By trying out dream interpretation on my own, I was able to see how it can be a useful tool. Research can promote ideas about dreams that people can experience in their own home. I realize that this is a bit of a stretch (most people I know would laugh at me if I suggested that they start meditating and recording/interpreting their dreams), but it would at least offer a possibility for people to experience the importance of their own dreams.

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  3. I think part of the resistance to change is stated nicely in the actual blog posting for today, "As we study the scientific literature we can see that research findings reveal information that people cannot always accept; even when the findings are clear and repeated often". When people are unwillingly to accept certain messages, concepts, maybe even flaws within themselves (if their dreams point to this, like the example from Professor DeCicco's book about the woman being pig-headed) there always seems to be high levels of resistance. I believe part of this is human nature as no one likes admitting their beliefs, methods, or ideas could be flawed.

    Dream imagery has been linked to mental illness however like Lauren points out above, what is to say someone without depression cannot experience imagery similar to someone who is depressed? Can this be further broken down into if someone is having a particular rough day or week, but aren't experiencing depression could they have a dream with similar imagery to someone depressed due to their bad mood? How can we be certain these dream imagery patterns don't show up in the rest of the population, especially when so many people cannot recall so many of their dreams?

    I think using media like the news channels are an alright method to introduce new findings; however, many new findings are discussed by news channels and people do not change their opinions on the subject. As an example, one year red wine is bad for your health, the next year the same news channel shares a study where red wine is good for your health. So I'm not sure how much pull news channels would provide to lay people when presenting new information, as I myself as a viewer, take most of what I see in the 6 o'clock news with a grain of salt.

    I have found throughout my schooling when I speak about psychology and projects I'm doing to people who aren't in my program or school for that matter, their interest and concern isn't as great as mine. This is what I feel lay people suffer from. If they don't have some sort of personal interest on any level about the material being presented they won't take to it easily. On the other hand, if they hold certain beliefs outside of the scientific community (as an example, Religion) they are quick to dismiss the findings as they feel, for them, they already know the answer.

    However, a paradigm shift could more readily occur if the material presented and refuted is only between scientific research. People may accept that change, but still may hold to beliefs from different areas outside of science.

    Samantha Lewer

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    1. I would have to agree with you Samantha on the point of news and media in projecting the new scientific discoveries. The population today is strange in how it interprets the news. I find that really obscure and false information is taken too seriously by many and immediately talked over. While the information that could actually be news breaking and very direct, objective information is not taken for face value and almost skimmed over.
      If you don't dress it up and make it look like a big scandal then no one wants to hear about it.

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  4. It can be a struggle for people to accept that what they once knew to be true is actually false. People go through life with the notion that "truth" is something that is irrefutable. They use the truths that they have discovered over the years as a basis for understanding the ways of the world. Suddenly, when new research comes along to oppose one's truths, it causes people to have to reassess their lives that have been shaped based on the truths they once knew. Change is not something that everyone can embrace readily. Whether it is a small form of change or a life-altering change, change can be hard to accept because not everyone can adapt themselves to new things easily. Research is not meant to degrade anyone's understanding of anything. Research is conducted for the benefit of others. Research that shows that dream imagery is linked to mental illness is a necessary finding because now people know that dream imagery can be used to aid the process of diagnosing mental illnesses, which can lead to faster diagnoses. When new research is presented to the public, it is important that the public clearly understand the implications of the findings before they pass judgement on it. People may be quick to deny the validity of research findings that are against their own understanding of things because it calls into question their knowledge about something that they have believed was true. As mentioned in the above post, some people do not like to admit when they are wrong, which makes accepting new research findings difficult. Scientists already do their best to present how their findings can affect the world in their reports. They should just continue to describe the benefits of their findings so that people can see how the research was meant to benefit people. The more that people hear how the research was meant to help them, the more likely people will be willing to make changes to their previous understanding of concepts.
    -Sarah Aseerwatham

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  5. I think when we are looking to change common beliefs that are proposed by authorities such as "science" people are hesitant to hop on the bandwagon and dig into a new paradigm.

    It sounds strange, but I think pairing new information with old information, giving people the impression that the new ideas belong with or are neighbor too old ideas, but this is a little manipulative and may not be ethical in published data.

    The other option would be to use empirical studies to report new findings. With the passing of every generation there are changes in belief systems, it may be that time is the answer for acceptance. As more research is performed on the topic, evidence will build. Combining this with time, eventually the belief system should change. Strangely, this will continue to happen until the end of time, with values and belief systems altering with the generations that pass.

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    1. Janine LownsbroughJune 1, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      I like the idea of perhaps keeping some of the old information when adding the new information. It does not necessarily need to be manipulative, if perhaps they were to talk about the past research in a positive light and then connect them towards the new. In regards to a previous post, I agree that the media is a huge influence on people and their opinions. It is true in many ways that when someone sees an opinion on tv, they tend to believe it. Then once they have an opinion, anything else is taken with criticism. So if new research were to be put on a show consistently,and it were updated in a way that people would want to watch, then hopefully they will have their opinions changed.

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  6. Steffanie PorterMay 30, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Scientists can change the current paradigms of dreams by making the information more available to "lay people." Very few people are interested in looking up scientific research articles.

    Scientists could also use less jargon when describing new paradigms. They may benefit from doing what newspapers do and write everything at a grade 5 reading level. Of course, there would be the more academic piece of writing published in journals, but the public needs accessibility.

    The standard dream books that you can find in any store need to be reevaluated. I doubt a lot of those books are accurate in what they say dreams signify. Accurate information needs to be convenient for people, and needs to be affordable. Most people cannot afford a subscription to Psychology journals, and do not have a student ID to get into JSTOR.

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    1. That's a great idea I never thought directly of Steffanie. The jargon used in scientific articles keeps the public separate from the research society. Not many citizens I know look up journals for fun or to find information. They are quickly looking at google and other quick sites for the first interesting thing that pops up.
      Fact and fiction is melted together I feel in society at times. There is too much information thrown at you from the media, and with that info constantly changing it's hard to know what to believe.

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    2. Steffanie, great point about dream books being inaccurate. I actually own two or three "dream dictionaries" which tell the reader all about what certain images, colors, scenes (etc.) mean; however, researchers like Professor DeCicco stress that dream dictionaries aren't the same as dream interpretation. When I bought these books years ago, I started to believe I knew what my dreams meant, yet now that I'm using scientifically supported techniques from The Giant Compass I'm finding much more personal meaning in my dreams.

      Dream dictionaries are just one example of how people can be mislead about dreaming because they infer that certain dream images have the same generic meaning to all dreamers. I looked through one of my books just now, and I have noticed that there is no scientific research to back up their claims. Years ago when I bought this book, I was very quick to accept what it said as "the truth" because I thought that if it was published in a book, it must be true. Now I know better. I know that my dreams have a specific meaning to me and my life, not some generic claim in a book.

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    3. Janine LownsbroughJune 1, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      I recently came across a dream dictionary from 1937 that belonged to my great grandfather, and as I read through it, although it seemed ridiculous to me, at the time this is what people would have used to see what their dreams meant. So it is likely that as time goes on, the dictionaries available today will too become silly. I agree that new research needs to be publicly accessible for people to read them, because an average person likely wont go to the trouble of buying subscriptions, they will go to the simple dictionaries, and continue to be given inaccurate information.

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  7. I agree with the preceding posts fully in that humans are, I think, innately aversive to change. Perhaps this aversion is simply a derivative of the fear of the unknown which I think is also innate within us. Another factor in people's willingness to change their thoughts is related to whether or not the new paradigm is convenient or positive for them. For example, I think people are more willing to accept or believe in something like the notion that red wine is good for you ("okay great I can keep drinking red wine"), as people are to accept that global warming may be taking place ("I don't like paying taxes on my emissions"). So I think from the preceding I can state two things: people are slightly aversive to change in general, and people will be willing to accept some things more than others. Following this logic, I think one possible way to overcome the general population's natural aversion to change is to market the idea as a positive thing highlighting the potential benefits associated with the new idea.

    From my own perspective I know i was initially very skeptical of the field of dream interpretation but what has really started to change my views about this is the way in which the texts have presented the dream interpretation as a science that is studied using the same techniques as any other science. Moreover, this course so far has shown us that there are potential and proven benefits to dream interpretation and therapy which I believe has made me more apt to begin to accept the field. I think this speaks to the notion that sometimes in order to fully change someones views you need to educate them which in the case of dream interpretation naturally highlights its potential and proven benefits.

    Evan Mitchell

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  8. I think the easiest way for scientists help change the paradigms that popular culture hold would be to start with the younger generations. These people don't have the prior paradigms and information in their mind like the older generations do. The younger generations are more open-minded and if scientific literature was written in a way that was understandable and accessible to everyone (even lay people), it might be easier to change these popular beliefs. I also think people are hesitant to believe something "scientific" and new right away because it seems like there are so many things changing and theories being proven wrong these days.

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  9. In my opinion, I would use language and writing as a perfect example of how change is not always a bad thing, but an adaptive thing. There are new discoveries continuously occurring, to accommodate the population. For example with language and writing it has changed in the structure and function, we now communicate largely through computers and cell phones. This was approached and still is thought of, as very negative and for the worst. Although, many corporations and the younger generation are adopting the technology savvy concept. Scientists should continue their new discoveries but come out with them knowing there may be many negative thoughts. However, in knowing this hopefully they can introduce their product with counter arguments to what they expect to hear. This would allow society to see that those areas have been thought of beforehand and will be addressed. Enabling the pros and cons of a situation and being able to see how it lays out would potentially allow for more on board.

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  10. New research findings are often denied by the public when they go against the current understanding of the lay person. Science is held with high regard for authenticity and accuracy in our culture, if a finding is held in science it is often accepted more readily. This is the case more often when the finding is based in scientific principles and technology that has already been accepted into society has accurate/reliable/proven. When the public is confronted with scientific information, it must be presented in a manner that is user friendly in that the audience may understand what is being presented. Too often scientific terminology and jargon over complicates a media piece confusing the public and eliciting a defensive response. What we cannot understand we reject, what we cannot perceive cannot be real or scientific. If a new finding challenges current beliefs, ideologies, and practices in thereby endangers the social identity and causes resistance. To understand such challenges, unknowns representations or paradigms emerge to cope, causing a social construction assimilating the scientific with the common/familiar.
    The key to changing the paradigms of pop culture is to present information first to the scientific community so that they may judge the findings in a scholarly manner and formulate accurate opinions, then to present the finding, supported by the scientific community via a reputable and trusted source to the public in a user friendly manner for the lay person, and to not simply present the findings but what such findings contribute to science and the social community at large. The finding should be presented in a manner that can be easily understood, analogies are useful, reducing challenging terms that may induce resistance or anxiety in the audience. Provide support, personal accounts or respected individuals, provide evidence that is not easily refuted. Much of what a scientific finding is represented by in society comes from what we already know and understand on that subject. Providing background information on the subject prior to presenting a finding, ie. on the science of dreams prior to presenting dream imagery being useful in diagnosis and treatment.

    - Charlotte Marcotte

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  11. Some people tend to believe what they want to believe, and no amount of evidence will change their minds. Others will believe everything they hear whether it be the truth or not. Many people have formed their own opinions about things and just can’t accept anything new. This could be for fear of change, or maybe even because they are afraid to admit that they don’t know it all. For whatever reason, they will likely never change their paradigms, no matter what the research tells them.
    In order to help change the paradigms that popular culture hold when new research findings are revealed, scientists should make their findings easily accessible to the general public and publish their findings in simple terms so that they can be easily understood. This may not change the paradigms that people hold, but at least the information will be available to those who wish to access it and are interested in it. Not all people find scientific research interesting, so those people will be harder to reach. The media is a popular way to reach many different audiences. We sometimes hear about new research findings on the news, in television programs on the TLC or Discovery channel, or even on the radio. It all depends on who is watching or listening and whether or not the choose to accept this information as part of their paradigm.

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  12. What a great topic!

    I have a point but first I'll mention two things I'm grateful of. First off, it's good to know that today's researchers are not put to death like they used to be. Second, I'm grateful of the fact that we have a skeptical public.

    My point is that I think a skeptical public is a good thing. First off, we live in what I believe to be one of the most open minded and accepting cultures to have ever existed (that part is open to disagreement!). That being said, I think that not all things that come out of the scientific community are good things. If the world openly accepted astrology, homeopathy, phrenology, and other pseudosciences (that were not scientifically supported in the long run), it would be a very different place. Science itself flourishes off of disagreement. Such is how we correct against our mistakes, right?

    To address the actual question of the day, I'll say that the best thing dream researchers can do is continue to produce research and evidence. This may be arduous because of an unreceptive public but I think that that is the burden of science. Change will come with time if the research holds up.

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  13. Megan MacDougallMay 31, 2012 at 7:21 AM

    In some ways I find that it is a good thing that people are not accepting findings right off the bat. By challenging findings it may be possible to find out more or different information regarding a topic. For instance, if no one ever challenged the theory that the Earth was flat, than everyone would have still believed it until several decades ago when the first astronauts when into space and saw it from above. It is important to have many scientists study the same topic to help avoid biases and to also show reliable findings. For instance is many scientists have the same findings it is much more reliable data than if only one experiment found something.
    Furthermore, in order for the paradigms that popular culture holds, it would be beneficial for the new findings to be written in a manner that the general public can understand. There are many articles I have read over the years where I get lost in the jargon and end up not understanding what exactly the article is trying to say or what the findings were. This is a huge negative for the medical and research fields because it allows the possibility for their information to be misconstrued. By breaking down this barrier it will help the field immensely because more people will be able to read and comprehend the information allowing the research to reach a wider demographic.

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  14. Jennifer Cheznowski 0376917May 31, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    When new theories are introduced into a society, many do not feel comfortable accepting the new theory as it does not match up to their previous beliefs. To many this can be very unsettling as it is contrary to their valued ways of life. Scientists can help in this situation as they can help provide the evidence or the "science" behind the new theory. In doing so, it allows a person to have a greater understanding of the new theory. It may clear up confusion and help previous beliefs to be overlooked by something that makes more sense.
    Many cultures value their beliefs based off of their theories. When a new theory is presented and it goes against a previous theory, many are unwilling accept the new theory and find it offensive. Scientists can help people understand new beliefs by introducing the theory behind the new theory, making it more comprehendable for people.
    Not only might some people find this offensive, but it previous scientists who originally made theories may take offence to the new theory introduced. Scientists can help provide new underlying evidence as to why the theory should be updated or changed.

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  15. These issues are interesting to consider because I agree that many people hold onto different opinions on certain issues. When it comes to dreams I understand why scientists want to stress their scientific findings on dreams to the public because this knowledge is powerful. That is, in the example of dream imagery being linked to mental illness, knowing these findings may help individuals become aware of their illness earlier and help them deal with their problems in a different and possibly more beneficial way, that is, through dream analysis.
    So, what are some ways scientists can increase awareness in the greater public? Like Megan said in the previous post, having scientific findings written in a manner that is easy for the general public to understand is vital. If people are provided with the information in an accessible way and open way they are much more likely to consider it and begin to understand it.
    Another way to inform the general public about scientific findings would be to draw attention to youth. That is, have these issues and ideas brought about in class to students giving them the opportunity to challenge and understand them through research and case studies. This way, they have the opportunity to learn and possibly challenge these ideas through further research. I also find that when students learn new and interesting facts they go home and tell their guardians about it allowing for the ideas to be spread further amongst the general population. Particularly for a topic such as dreams it is well known and common amongst everyone. That is, everyone experiences dreams so I feel more information about them would be received well. Along with this people would be interested in these scientific findings and probably consider them in their general understanding of dreams and dreaming.

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  16. The fact is, humans are by nature very skilled at ignoring or discounting information that is contrary to their own belief system or 'schema'. One strategy to help combat this in light of new scientific findings and discoveries is to (as previously mentioned) target efforts at young people and students. However, I would argue that merely introducing young people to new information because they are as yet 'untainted' by experience is not nearly enough. Among university students (in the sciences in particular), there is a general culture of curiosity and encouragement to 'think like a scientist'. I do believe however that we (students) are but a very small minority. A more effective way of encouraging a paradigm shift is the encouragement of all peoples' curiosity. Moreover, a person's ability to think critically should be trained from the time they are young. This is not currently the case! Many people in Canada (let alone the rest of the world), never learn to think critically, or even for themselves. Changing this, would be critical for any such cultural shift in acceptance of new, possibly threatening information.

    Alya Al-Joundi

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  17. Ashley HutchingsMay 31, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    People often do not accept new information. People believe what they want or do not want to believe. Some believe everything that they hear, especially when it comes to information portrayed in the media. I would have to say that most people in the older generations are set in their ways and have a set paradigm. In addition, many individuals do NOT like change. Personally speaking I do not like change because when you are use to something and comfortable with it you feel stress when change occurs because you have to adapt to a new way of thinking or a new way of doing things. I agree with Lisa in the above posting that scientists should target a younger population because they may be less likely to have set opinions. Furthermore, when scientists discover new findings they need to make it understandable/accessible for lay people. I believe the best way to make it accessible would have to be through the media. Instead of trying to change the paradigms of popular culture, scientists need to make it accessible and easy to understand for everyone so that if people want to accept the new information being presented they can or if not they do not have to. When trying to push people towards something such as change, they are going to be more resistant.

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  18. In regards to the statement above I do agree with Alya that, “humans are by nature very skilled at ignoring or discounting information that is contrary to their own belief system or 'schema'.” In society we are born without any preexisting knowledge about the universe however as we age, we make observations and draw conclusions from those. Beginning form birth each and every one of us formulates a type of belief system which in essence is key to our survival and in many ways key to our consciousness in life. Beliefs in our life however can change throughout life based on new evidence or ideas. However in many cases when individuals are set in their belief’s they tend to ignore evidence and research findings if they go against their beliefs. I believe this is partially due to the fact that absolute certainty in a scientific belief being held cannot be “absolutely true” no matter how convincing it is. Science is changing frequently and new studies are being done daily around the world. Scientific research findings pose many different questions and give answers to society. However not always are scientific research studies correct in their findings, new studies in cases bring light to factors that go against the previous findings. I find that in many cases society holds a wall against research studies until a great deal of significant evidence is brought forth and many cases have been talked about and recognize as significant. For instance there have been many research studies that have brought about false claims: Cancer posts false claims for cures (“So, it is cancer research academics--not industry scientists--who are responsible for polluting the scientific literature with false "positive" claimed findings. Indeed, even when the academic got the result he published only once--after attempting, but failing, six times to replicate his own finding--he nevertheless submitted his unsupportable finding for publication.”¬), GMC research doctor has given false claims (“A consultant who forged the signatures of two colleagues and falsely claimed authorship of research in which he had played no part was suspended for three months by the General Medical Council last week. Ranjit Sinharay was an associate specialist and locum consultant at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Llantrisant, Mid Glamorgan, when he learnt of research carried out by a nurse practitioner, Diane Bird, into the diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis. Ms Bird presented her research, which was supervised by George Strang, at the trust's annual research day in November 2001. In February 2003, seven months after leaving the Royal Glamorgan for a post at the Royal Gwent Hospital, Dr Sinharay submitted a research letter for publication in the Postgraduate Medical Journal.”) and also nestle scientist’s have given false research claims (“Nestlé sensationally launched an infant formula that the company claimed could reduce infants’ risk of developing allergies: Evidently, the Nestlé Good Start infant formula study was never even conducted and the raw data Chandra cited could not have actually been collected.”). These few examples show how research studies can mislead the public and why so many are hesitant to believe research studies that are presented in society. This leads back to the reasons why people cannot always accept new research findings; even when the findings are clear and repeated often.

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  19. CONTD......

    In correspondence to, how can scientists help change the paradigms that popular culture hold when new research findings are revealed? Well I personally agree with Kim, “The media is a popular way to reach many different audiences. We sometimes hear about new research findings on the news, in television programs on the TLC or Discovery channel, or even on the radio.” I also agree with Stacey O’Brien that, “inform the general public about scientific findings would draw attention to youth.” I believe that with research findings like the ones in regards to dreaming and how dream imagery is: a) linked to mental illness, b) specific to illnesses, and c) can aid in both diagnosis and treatment as stated above are not widely discussed. For myself I have never heard any information or benefit in regards to looking into your dreams until this course we are taking now. This shows me how unknown these studies are to society and youth. I believe that if scientist produce a way of getting this information out into the public into a more informative manner possibly through Utube videos, commercials in-between popular shows, newspapers or even an article in a magazine people will recognize how truly significant dreams are. Without these research findings being represented in a way that individuals can access easily or “understand” people will tend to either ignore the fact in the research or find it insignificant.

    Through the research findings presenting itself as insignificant people will voice that to others and possibly not even share the information to others that they read about. I believe that if scientists find ways to reach the public in a significant and impacting way on how important dreams are the word of mouth will spread throughout society. How you may ask, can a scientist impact society and popular culture? I believe it is all about how it is presented, it truly is, the facts, the research, the studies could all be there but until it is presented in an impacting way people will see it just as another study. With so many studies being conducted and many coming up as being flawed or inconclusive later on it is hard for others in society to view studies as valid or influential to them in their life. If scientist can look at how dreams truly impact others with the mind-body connection and truly show how looking into your dreams can change and benefit one’s life and present it all in an impacting (Bang, Boom, Wow) way people will listen and as result beliefs about dreams will change.
    ~~ Abby Ross

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  20. I believe that if scientists were not so hard on other theories and were not so directed towards their own theories the taking of new discoveries would be taken much easier. When a scientist reveals something new the need to explain it in respects to other paradigms and how they all connect together instead of only showing one form from their paradigm.
    Scientist also need to explain their theories in more social terms where if one paradigm is followed by most of the world then help direct their presentation of the theory towards that paradigm or try to make it paradigm neutral.

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  21. I think if scientist were able to display their new findings in a more current way that maybe society would be more accepting. I think it is only normal to discount new findings sometimes when people or society is used to the usual common knowledge of things. So when a new idea comes along they discount it almost instantly when it’s a new way of thinking about something. I think that if a scientist comes up with a new finding and it is told everywhere in media, internet etc and people start off by supporting it, that this will result in the general population being more accepting of this new research finding. Hopefully with this it will change the paradigm when it comes to new findings in research. I think that new findings are not always exposed to everyone so when a new finding is announced not everyone is aware of it and may be weary at the start. Scientist should communicate their findings in more general terms and if they can get mass media, or other forms of sharing their research by many people supporting it from the start, this may shift this schema that society has and new research findings may be more easily accepted and continue to be accepted when other research finds the same findings.

    Erin Hillier

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  22. Dreams can be very ambiguous, bizarre and confusing. Without knowing the correct way to interpret one's dreams, it is difficult to think that they actually mean anything, let alone have the ability to guide one in his or her waking day life. Even if given the appropriate methods of interpretation, dreams are still often hard to accept. Our dreams can tell us things about ourselves that we do not like, or that scare us (i.e health dreams that indicate that something is wrong). When faced with a dream that tells us something unpleasant, perhaps for some it is better to simply ignore these dreams than to address the problem.

    It is hard to say whether or not the paradigms created by popular culture can be changed when new research findings are revealed. Other than those involved in academia, few people actually read scientific journals. Making the information more easily available to the public could be one solution. As it has been suggested by others, the media could be used as a means of expressing this information. While this is a good idea, I feel that using media outlets to communicate scientific findings will only cause this information to loose its credibility. I don't think that there is a way to change the paradigms that popular culture holds.

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  23. I believe that educating a person about the actual facts concerning a particular subject is not as important as teaching that person how to determine whether the facts they are given are trustworthy, reliable, and valid or not. It's like the old proverb: "Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you'll feed him for a lifetime."

    The problem isn't necessarily in the media. The media is designed for entertainment. Even the news. If new "empirical findings" aren't entertaining, if they don't increase ratings, no one will air them. And even if they do, those who are educated will question them anyway. The media isn't a reliable source.

    What needs to happen is educating individuals on how to think critically. And this needs to happen earlier than university. The first time I ever found out what a reliable, valid, empirical source looked liked, or how to find one, was first year university. Why not high school when students are still required to be in school? Why are we not teaching critical thinking sooner? The difference between first year university and grade 12 is a whole 2 months for a lot of students. What is the reason empirical articles can not be used in high schools? Or at least teach them how to find reliable information.

    The problem isn't how the media delivers information: correct or not. The problem lies in not teaching our children to question what they're told and to think about it logically before blinding following every "fact". Teach a student to think critically about information, EARLIER than university, and you'll decrease the number of people who believe everything they're told.

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  24. When scientist discover new findings and present them to the world they are often discounted because people have already accepted a theory. I think if they want to change paradigms that popular culture hold they need to not be so forceful with their findings. what is meant by this is, they cannot disregard old findings and shove new theories into the worlds face. As previously stated in a comment above scientist should build off of old findings or compare old research. This may help people to understand and accept new knowledge instead of getting new knowledge shoved in their faces and forced to believe it. gradual change would be more widely accepted.
    -Amanda Edwards

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  25. I can even admit that I do this when it comes to hearing new information and data. Usually, you trust the people that tell you the information, starting from childhood and leading up to adulthood. As a child you trust what your parents and caretakers tell you. As you develop you adapt this method of learning through those that you gain information from.

    As I said, people tend to digest the information that they hear first and then have a difficult time adjusting to new information. Like Amanda said, scientists (even those who are not scientists) should build on previous information, not readily force the new findings into the public's face. New findings still need to be released, however the method in which it is done needs to be adapted.

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  26. Along with what other's have commented on, it seems it is human nature to get stuck in our ways and beliefs. People tend not to deviate from things they have already made up their minds about, especially if it would mean on the extreme end, changing one's lifestyle. And understandably so. If you don't have anything you value, you would be in a continuous state of limbo with yourself. However, we do run into the issue were popular culture draws people in and the pressures of fitting into the "norm" supress open mindedness. I think when presenting new fnding's scientists should be introducing it slowly, especially finding's that deviate a lot from popular culture. People do not want to be bombarded with new things, but that being said new information needs to be constantly updated, consistent, and present so it gains people's attention.

    I too agree with other's opinions that education of young people to think critically is and will be a major contributing factor in the future when breaking down particular social paradigms. Today we have progressed far from where we were even ten years ago. Modern society allows people to think more critically and question things. However, our media oulets still present a baracade for this type of thinking. Our sources of media play a role in showcasing only what is dominant paradigms. I think this needs to be changed. New findings are constant and bridge the way for new ideas and help with smoother transitions. If these were broadcasted more, change would be easier to accept.

    Nicole Hinan

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  27. Most disciplines are so black and white and I think the major problem with scientists is that they most often think their paradigm or choice of study is 100% correct and the right way to look at the world. The truth is that psychology is not a perfect way of looking at people; modern psychology breaks people into variables and data and takes them out of their contexts of society and cultural factors. Modern day psychologists mostly look at quantitative research and break people into numbers; which takes away from the truth of a behaviour. I think it is important for people who are pushing the importance of dreams as modern day ways of treating and diagnosing illnesses to show both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of data.

    New ways of thinking and new fads and subjects are constantly popping up in history. Most forms of study are too black and white, so I think it is important for scientists to show data and observations when it comes to dream analysis. Scientists should provide numbers and data on their findings, but I think it is also important to simply transcribe people’s dreams and analyze them. Dream analysis could gain more popularity if more books are written on it and if it is brought into the media. I also think it is important to NOT look at dreams in a dualistic perspective like what most psychology does. Most people in psychology believe the body and the mid are two separate entities, but I think the public will find dream analysis more popular if they are made to understand that the body and the mind are not two separate entities. People will respond to dream analysis better if they get that your conscious mind and unconscious mind work together, and they both can have an effect on your waking life.

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  28. Jazmine EtchellsJune 2, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    I would have to agree with many of the statements offered in response to this topic. I think change is hard for people in any area of life, but changing a belief that someone thought to be concrete and scientifically supported seems to be one of the toughest. When I personally think of science and scientific discoveries, I feel reassured that the information I am receiving is correct. Scientific research does lead to insight and discoveries in many areas, but there are some aspects that science cannot capture. The pseudoscience field provides a completely different approach and outlook on the topic. I think the combination of both is crucial in changing the viewpoints of none believers. By providing people with reliable and valid studies and results supporting the topic, in combination with, aspects from pseudoscience such as astrology and homeopathy, will help the individual relate on different levels. Also, I think by creating a way to make these studies and reports more accessible, for example through popular media (i.e. the news), will help change the current paradigm around dream interpretation and study. I think a major contributing factor is that people were told for such a long period of time and from many sources (incorrect sources) that dreams hold no scientific significance. In order to change this people need to be constantly shown that dream study and interpretation has led to many discoveries and insights, and is in fact, a real field of study. By surrounding people with messages and headlines that describe dream use in the scientific realm I think people will slowly become more open to the idea, that dreams do hold importance. Plus, the more studies that are published and the more interest grows in the field means the more information we learn about the dreaming state and how it is very much interconnected with our waking lives.

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  29. I think it would be hard for scientists to change the popular culture paradigms when new research is found. Most people already have their own opinions and are stubborn or unwilling to change. Some people learn scientific or non-scientific facts from their parents when they are growing up. They also do not think to research what they learned from their parents and siblings or have the skills. Each school board has their own curriculum that they follow, what is taught to the students from the curriculum is not always scientific facts. Some ways that may be done to change paradigms and some peoples opinions is to broadcast the research through media (internet, television, school, etc.) but still try to keep the credibility. Another way would be to integrate how to research scientific articles at younger ages as well as teach students about critical thinking. Regardless what is done to try to change the paradigm, people are going to have their own opinions about stuff whether or not they have scientific facts.
    -Sarah McFadden

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  30. Christine McAteerJune 2, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Scientists can help Change the paradigms for the culture today regarding dreams by making knowledge and informations known about dreams more readily available to the general public. People who are old are often set in their ways but people do take into account what knowledgable respected people are saying to a point. If the situation has to do with something that person is interested in they are usually willing to listen. For example when researchers come out with the new diet fad and someone who is trying to loose weight they might take that into account to help them out.
    So if someone was trying to figure out the meaning of things occurring in their lives or trying the deal with problems or figure out issues within their life and they are informed by scientists that dreams are a good scientifically proven way to help people and that dreams can be related to our waking day life's it might broaden the number of people hat believe in the use of dream interpretation. This will allow the information to get out there and if it helps them they will share it with the people in their lives.
    Scientists can share information on tv and in the newspapers like previously stated and it will get fthe knowledgable information out to the general public and help start the pop. cultures Opinion regarding the use of dreams to relate to our waking day lives as a real solution and problem solving solution.

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  31. Morgan Gail Stykel (0388819)June 3, 2012 at 6:46 AM

    I believe everything known to humans of all type, lay people or not, cannot be deducible to science. Therefore, when lay people have opinions without regarding scientific literature it is not always a hurdle. Furthermore, sometimes lay people’s opinion is correct. I cannot help but think of those people who were against taking certain pharmaceuticals, and ironically those pharmaceuticals that were supposed to be grand ended up not being so. I do however understand that sometimes lay people’s opinions interfere with the advancement of science and are resistant to the facts that are seemingly hard-facts. People may not be able to understand clear and repeated facts for a number of reasons. Those reasons may include: religion, disagreeing research findings, tradition, or stubbornness among many other reasons. I think that scientists can help change paradigms that popular culture hold when new research findings are revealed in a number of ways. First, scientists can make their research more attainable and understandable to the common lay-man. Second, scientists can publish their work in a number of places, rather than keeping findings restricted to journal articles accessed to merely university students at certain schools. Third, scientists can make a point of talking about their findings while keeping an open mind to alternative findings from other scientists. Often, I find it hard to read research when it seems the scientists have found the results so the results matched their hypothesis; this I find frustrating and not open to controversy. Finally, scientists can consider religious and traditional implications of their research before publishing, and be prepared and open to the criticisms certain groups of people may project towards the scientists. These are some suggestions I have so that popular culture will embrace scientific research findings rather than hide or disregard it.

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  32. Through reading the all of the previous postings on this topic, I noticed that many people seem to hold the belief that in general, people are resistant to change. I question this belief because it feels pessimistic to me. I mean we all experience cognitive dissonance at times. Sometimes we welcome change, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes it shakes up our previously held beliefs, and we may or may not choose to adapt. No one is one way (set in all of their beliefs) or another (open-minded) at all times. I think any scientific finding that could potentially better human functioning is a good thing. I think the general public would welcome up-to-date information regarding the usefulness of dream interpretation. I do not agree that popular media is the way to disseminate this information. As others’ have mentioned, for anyone who is trained in critical thinking, the media shares “bad” science far more often than “good” science. Consider the function of the mass media. Large-scale corporations own mass media, which means if there isn’t an opportunity for profit, it isn’t published or shared. I personally am skeptical about anything published in mass media. I do agree with the bloggers’ who talked about training young minds earlier in life to become critical and open-minded thinkers. Again, there is a major flaw in our public education system in that the mainstream curriculum is purposely designed to perpetuate certain beliefs in the interest of the economy. I am going to go on short a rant here. And I acknowledge that these are my own opinions. So take the fact that Canada’s food guide is taught in public school. Look at the emphasis made on milk and dairy products. Now go look for latest scientific research that suggests cow’s milk and dairy products cause illness and infection in many people, and that cow’s milk because of its high acidity in the body actually leaches calcium from our bones. Now who wants to hear this? The dairy companies do not want us to hear this because they want us to buy their products. Who funds Canada’s Food Guide? The dairy companies. My point here is that good, solid, useful information that could be used to advance our civilization is ignored simply because of the capitalist system in which we life. How can dream scientists combat this? Train more clinicians so that they can use findings and best practices to treat people. If a method is truly effective, people will talk and the information will spread naturally. Or maybe that's just my optimism shining through.
    Lindsay Dixon

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  33. We often seek information that confirms our existing opinions, which are generally based on prominent views of one’s culture, society, family member(s), etc. Although opinions are not always based on facts or thoroughly researched studies, they may be strengthened because of the many others that hold the same opinions. What I am trying to say is, I believe that the more prominent and common an opinion is, the more it will be accepted as fact, even if it is not. Therefore, I believe the most important thing that scientists can do to help change the paradigms that popular culture hold is to make their research findings more prominent and evident for all. To do this, scientists could ensure that their research findings are readily available to absolutely everyone, possibly presented in the popular media (vs. scholarly journals that seem to only be used by fellow researchers and academics). Additionally, scientists could ensure that everyone (any reader/audience member, educated or uneducated) is able to gain an understanding of the findings. Thus, findings should be written or discussed in layperson’s terms, avoiding the use of jargon and confusing data. With these simple measures, scientists could help increase the prominence, availability, and accessibility of their research in popular culture, which may then increase the likelihood of changing the paradigms held. If anything, it may promote individuals to be more critical and to seek information with scientific findings and credibility before accepting anything is fact.
    -Lindsey Martin

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  34. In my opinion people often have a hard time believing things when they cannot see immediate cause and effect results. Because dreams are intangible, people may often have a problem believing that they can have effects on other situations in life or may even indicate solutions to problems in waking day life. Although everyone has dreams, there is no standard norm for what can occur in them, how much you may remember and even the amount someone dreams a night. All of these things vary and therefore there is no norm to compare them to. When there isn't an ability to make concrete comparisons between things, people also have a hard time determining what is false and what is true.

    I really think that many people are not very aware of the amount of scientific knowledge available. Not every single member of society has gone to post secondary education where it was necessary to use research databases, therefore this scientific knowledge that dream interpretation has a place in many aspects of the medical world isn't necessarily accessible to everyone. Perhaps it could be extended to the general public through general doctors who instead of prescribing medications off the hop, could send patients to dream interpretation specialists who could get to the root of problems such as anxiety or PTSD.

    Another way of changing paradigms could be teaching the younger generations about dream interpretation and how it can be useful. Schools teaching health can talk about how communicating dreams to parents can help solve any issues or anxiety by working through their waking day problems shown in dreams. Learning new techniques to get ones self better could be taught at a young enough age that it becomes implemented in everyday life as the children age.

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  35. I think that it is the base of society that is holding back scientists from being able to change the paradigms that people hold, which is the media. People tend to believe almost everything the media says, so when it is on the cover of the newspaper, whether it is true or not people will read the story and take it to heart.
    Once we are able to change who people want to listen to is the day that these paradigms will be let go of. But this will take a lot of work because the younger generations are even more dependent on the media than any other generations in society. We would have to start teaching the younger generations about other ways of learning information, and not to believe everything that the media says, so that when they are adults they will be able to look at research and see that it is in fact true.
    To fully get rid of paradigms, it will take much time to change attitudes. But once this is done, we will be able to move forward and get rid of paradigms.

    Brittney Delves

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  36. There are a variety of theories of why we dream and also many books that claim to tell you the meaning if a dream. An advertisement can say “one study found this..” and people believe it without going into any further detail. A lot of this information has no scientific backing behind it which either has people believing outdated/false information or becoming skeptics in dream science altogether.

    One way to have lay people believe newer information on dream research is to make it more available to them. To access a lot of the scientific journals people either have to be a student or have to pay.

    Also, another important item that needs to be addressed is to teach youth how to think critically. A lot of students are taught this information as they enter university or college. Teaching youth to look for items such as who is funding the research study, what are the researchers credentials, etc., will help them understand what research they should or should not believe.

    Kristin Vieira

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  37. When people have believed in something for so long and have always been committed to this thing, it is very hard for someone to change their view on it and believe something new. When new research is discovered and it oppose one's truth it will then cause people to have re think their lives because they are based on these old truths. Therefore it is difficult for scientists to change the paradigms that popular culture hold when new research findings are revealed. I agree with Brittney above that media plays a big role in what people beleive to be true. I think that it is very important to delay correct information and then people can determine what they choose to beleive or not.
    Kristen Thumm

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  38. Being one of the people that have refused to believe a fact despite being provided with scientific evidence (the synchronization of women's ovulation cycles, I can understand why some people choose to completely disregard scientific literature. Growing older, reading more on the topic this made me realize that yes, although this is possible, there are other studies that prove that there is no such relation. I think that's the major problem with the world today. Too many researches, too many relations between different things. What should one believe? Every other day I clean up more forwards from my email about a new discovery that is found. I say this without meaning any disrespect, but many people do find some researches rather pointless and silly. Because of this, I think people who aren't as educated on the topic tend to disregard other literature that is in fact of importance as irrelevant as well thus continuing to live in their already created and perceived paradigms. I think especially with older people, it can be more challenging to change their views on something that they have known and believed for a long time. Old wives tales are an example of this. It is hard to make someone who strongly believes in them to change their thinking due to a newly found discovery. I think with the newer generations or even adults who are more involved with a topic to take certain literature seriously as compared to others.

    -Nabiha Hassan

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  39. Stephanie WottonJune 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    I agree with the above posts, people are often resistant to accepting new opinions and incorporating these opinions into their lives. I also agree that the media often misrepresents scientific information and this leads people to form opinions that may not be "in-sync" with scientific fact. I feel that the reason for this is that the information presented through the media is easily understood by individuals outside of the scientific community. If the scientific community were to publish their findings in a way that is easily understood lay people may be more likely to accept these findings and incorporate that information into their lives (ie. seeking diagnoses and treatment of mental illnesses.) Another method change the paradigms associated with new research findings is to relate the findings to the lives of individuals. If something has an implication on someone's life they would be more likely to pay attention to it and critically think on it, which may lead to acceptance.

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  40. Though these findings may be clear and repeated often, if people have a set view on something it may be very difficult to change unless the person is interested in the topic. What makes it even more difficult is that dreams have had a bad past, so people may not take dreams as seriously as they should.

    Before starting the course, I was skeptical of the effects of dreams and, though I am more convinced, I still have a hard time believing how powerful dreams can be, and the lasting effect they can have on waking life.

    It is difficult to take something like dreams seriously because many people believe that our mind shuts off at night, or that dreams are just random, which is not true. In order for scientists to help change the paradigms around dreams, they first have to convince people that dreams are more than just a random occurrence.

    The best way to get the word out about something is through the media. In the society we live in today, people have to keep up with the media, whether it is through the news, magazines, or Twitter. What I am afraid of is that most people will not look at the information if it is long, or if they feel like they have something better to do. The world of dreams needs more publicity, though I really don't know how well people will listen.

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  41. Often time, when new research is revealed, or presented it is met with resistance and opposition from a variety of sources such as the public, scientific community, and other academics. There are pros and cons to this opposition; it is important to not blindly accept new information, but to consider it carefully. However, resistance may also hinder progress made in research, as well as potential progress. This is especially true in areas of research where there is a stigma attached to a particular condition. In order for paradigms to be changed with new research, I think it is important that researchers and the academic community address these stigmas and resistance head on. It is crucial to present the information and its results in an evidence based best practice way. This means demonstrating exactly how this research has improved treatment, therapy, etc, and supporting this with peer reviewed evidence and clinical situations (if appropriate). I think it is very important to acknowledge any opposition, and not dismiss it.It is also important to not push, or force the information upon people; allow others to critically think about the information which may lead to less resistance.

    Ann-Marie Harris

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  42. We are taught to be skeptical of things before we have scientific proof of their existence. Even with proof, people still are hesitant to believe that something that isn't "hard science" is real.

    I think the only way to change the way society views a subject (like the benefits of dream analysis) is to regularly subject them to the similar findings of the research. When I had completed my first lab in this course, the findings motivated me to share the technique with friends and co-workers. Some were hesitant, but when I assured them of our professor's credentials and my success in my own dream analysis, they were persuaded to try. Several of these individuals have approached me to tell me that they too had revealed some interesting details of their waking lives by analyzing their own dreams.

    By merely exposing a handful of people to this type of dream analysis, some deep seeded beliefs have been changed. The key to changing people's outlook is allowing them to experience the success for themselves. The truth is then undeniable.

    Shauna Conway

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  43. I think that these paradigms that have been placed upon scientist's new findings are due to the fact of them rejecting old information or findings to prove that the new findings are much more relevant and important. Though the new findings does provide new insights and different look but the previous facts and research should be incorporated as past work will help strengthen the new research. Though dreams are hard to explain to others because of the mystery behind them and the misunderstanding of what the dreams meaning are about. I feel that with help from research and methods discussed in the course will help give dreams a better representation of what kind of information dreams possess. Though researchers should allow the information to be easier to attain and make the understanding of dreams relevant to society so that there will be no miss communications.

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  44. As many people have said, understanding and believing something different from what many people have told you is hard. What parents and teachers tell us as children is what we grow up believing when we are older. Similarly, paradigms might be common to understand because many people have similar understandings about the same ideas.
    As dream research is becoming a major study, it might be hard for older generations to understand the concept of studying something so ‘mythical’. There are many superstitions we hear, as well as ideas of why we have dreams and so forth.
    Scientists can help change the paradigms that the popular culture holds in many ways. As many people have written above, scientists can use variables and data to help support their theories. Also, having labs and studies in the discussion of their findings should be incorporated so that people will understand that there are real live studies on this research.
    There will be a few limitations to this. Although scientists can make certain people change paradigms about new research findings—such as students and the general public who take literature seriously—how can we let the others know about these new research findings without harming their thoughts about the paradigms that also involve religion? That could lead into a serious religion versus science debate.

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  45. The media plays a huge role in how information is presented to the general population. Earlier comments of Dr. Oz are great examples of how millions of viewers will absorb the material they see on TV as truth and will ignore anything that deviates from what they know or have been told. If more reliable research was presented to these viewers who trust their TV doctors to provide them with reliable information, their opinion on the research, which they would have previously disregarded, may change.

    Often people are stuck in their ways until you can prove them otherwise. Presenting scientifically reliable and valid research in a way that the general public could access and easily comprehend is one way of changing the social paradigm surrounding what popular opinion holds. Using the internet as a basis for sharing this information makes the most sense because of its wide availability to the population. Also, because so many people believe what they see on TV and do not critically approach and question what they are being told, researchers can use TV programs to share scientific research to reach those who would originally disregard the information.

    To encourage lay persons to acknowledge the benefits of dream therapy and the important information we can retrieve from our dreams, this information and approach should be introduced slowly. Change is difficult for many, there can be flaws in the research that is conducted and in most cases you cannot change another’s opinion without providing the facts with research findings to back it up. But by slowly introducing accurate information to a wide variety of people can help to open their eyes to other ways of using our bodies to aid in our waking lives.

    Emily Vollett

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  46. Scientists can help change the paradigms that popular culture holds when new research findings are revealed by acknowledging that change in scientific findings are positive, and to be expected. Rather than emphasising certain methods above all others, recognising and conveying to the public that there are multiple ways of doing things will help the public to embrace change more readily, and to accept it as a natural occurrence of science rather than something to be rejected, feared, or ignored.

    ~ Ellen Coombs

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