The political leaning of the neuroscience discourse about school education in the French press from 2000 to 2020
Public Underst Sci. 2023-08-05; :
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Political actors pay attention to newspapers because they stimulate them to address a topic, reflect public opinion, provide feedback to their decisions, and help them to generate effective messages. Previous surveys showed that this is true for scientific issues. It follows that the newspaper coverage of scientific issues should appear as politically oriented, as observed regarding climate change. Here, we tested this prediction regarding educational neuroscience. This scientific issue is interesting because it implies no major economic interest and because the relevance of neuroscience regarding teaching in the classroom is still highly controversial. As hypothesized, we observed that the French press appeared strongly polarized: the right-leaning press was mostly favorable to educational neuroscience, whereas critical opinions were mainly found in the social-democrat press. Although the relevance of neuroscience toward teaching was rarely discussed in scientific arguments, political actors often invoked educational neuroscience in the press to legitimate their decision.