Americans’ views of scientists’ motivations for scientific work

Branden B. Johnson, Nathan F. Dieckmann

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Scholars have not examined public views of scientific motivations directly, despite scientific authority implications. A US representative sample rated 11 motivations both descriptively (they do motivate scientists’ work) and normatively (they should motivate scientists) for scientists employed by federal government agency, large business corporation, advocacy group (nonprofit seeking to influence policy), or university. Descriptive and normative ratings fell into extrinsic (money, fame, power, being liked, helping employer) and intrinsic (do good science, enjoy challenge, helping society and others) motivation factors; being independent and gaining respect were outliers. People saw intrinsic motivations as more common, but wanted intrinsic motivations to dominate extrinsic ones even more. Despite a few differences for extrinsic-motivation ratings, the lay public tended to see scientific work as similarly motivated regardless of the employer. Variance in perceived science motivations was explained by scientific beliefs (positivism, credibility) and knowledge (of facts and scientific reasoning), complemented by political ideology and religiosity.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalPublic Understanding of Science
    DOIs
    StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

    Fingerprint

    Government Agencies
    Federal Government
    intrinsic motivation
    employer
    rating
    extrinsic motivation
    positivism
    political ideology
    government agency
    science
    credibility
    corporation
    respect
    money
    Personnel rating
    Extrinsic
    university
    Industry
    Intrinsic Motivation
    Employers

    Keywords

    • extrinsic motivations
    • intrinsic motivations
    • perceptions of scientists’ motivations

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Communication
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

    Cite this

    Americans’ views of scientists’ motivations for scientific work. / Johnson, Branden B.; Dieckmann, Nathan F.

    In: Public Understanding of Science, 01.01.2019.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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