A series of studies presented during the annual meeting of the American Association of the Advancement of Science by a team of researchers from Arizona State University Tempe shows that most people do not dread, and even feel optimistic about, the prospects of confirming the existence of extraterrestrial life, Science magazine reports.
After scanning the articles with a special software tool, the scientists determined that they contain "three times as many words indicating positive emotions (such as happy, excited, and cool) than negative emotions."
During the second study the scientists interviewed a group of 500 people who were asked to describe their possible reaction and the reaction of humanity if an announcement was made about the discovery of microbial alien life, with the respondents exhibiting “overwhelmingly positive” reaction.
And the third study, which involved interviewing another group of 500, revealed that people would react much more favorably to the discovery of alien life (in this hypothetical instance – microbes) than to the creation of artificial life by Earth scientists.
However, Science magazine also points out that "the study did not look at whether people would feel differently if actual beings were discovered rather than microbes, so those reactions might be quite different."