A surprising new study has found that if we were to discover extraterrestrial life, it would not freak us out that much at all.
If humanity were ever to discover the existence of alien life outside of Planet Earth, this remarkable finding might not freak out everyone as much as you might think. Instead, a researcher at Arizona State University suggests that people would actually be pretty chill about it, and that is backed up by science.
Michael Varnum, the ASU psychology professor who conducted the study, based this conclusion on an analysis of newspaper articles that have covered news articles about potential discoveries, like the dimming of “Tabby’s Star” or planets around Trappist-1. What he found is that such news articles conveyed hope and even joy, rather than fear or negative emotions.
The research team also conducted a second study involving 500 people, and asked them to guess how they would react if alien life was discovered. They found that there would be excitement and positive feelings about such news, rather than fear and consternation.
“If we came face to face with life outside of Earth, we would actually be pretty upbeat about it,” said Arizona State University Assistant Professor of Psychology Michael Varnum. “So far, there’s been a lot of speculation about how we might respond to this kind of news, but until now, almost no systematic empirical research.”