The likeliest scenarios would be slow to develop, give people plenty of time to process, and involve distances far enough away that it would just be abstract information to most people - e.g., telescopic observations of atmospheric chemistry indicating processes we recognize as necessarily artificial.
The article is mostly about people finding out about alien microbial life.
Also, they surveyed a bunch of random people about they THINK they would feel. There's a big difference between that and how they would actually feel.
Well, yeah, I figure the most accurate representation of us in a first-contact scenario was probably District 9. Shitloads of curiosity followed by a complete lack of interest after a few weeks as governments figure out how to react
The issue is that the article stated the hypothetical scenario was around microbial extraterrestial life (and not complex beings such as humans).
I don't want to disregard the studies due to this fact, but it's difficult to take it with much weight when we still have issues with treating other HUMANS equally. Of course microbial life wouldn't cause much controversy - chances are we wouldn't see such positive responses if a being complex enough to change popular beliefs came to give Earth a visit.
That's because we don't understand how dangerous we are. Once aliens figure out that wherever we go we devastate both nature and our fellow human beings, then we should worry.
The full research article, [How Will We React to the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life?](https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02308/full
) was published in the journal, *Frontiers in Psychology*.
How will humanity react to the discovery of extraterrestrial life? Speculation on this topic abounds, but empirical research is practically non-existent. We report the results of three empirical studies assessing psychological reactions to the discovery of extraterrestrial life using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) text analysis software. We examined language use in media coverage of past discovery announcements of this nature, with a focus on extraterrestrial microbial life (Pilot Study). A large online sample (N = 501) was asked to write about their own and humanity’s reaction to a hypothetical announcement of such a discovery (Study 1), and an independent, large online sample (N = 256) was asked to read and respond to a newspaper story about the claim that fossilized extraterrestrial microbial life had been found in a meteorite of Martian origin (Study 2). Across these studies, we found that reactions were significantly more positive than negative, and more reward vs. risk oriented. A mini-meta-analysis revealed large overall effect sizes (positive vs. negative affect language: g = 0.98; reward vs. risk language: g = 0.81). We also found that people’s forecasts of their own reactions showed a greater positivity bias than their forecasts of humanity’s reactions (Study 1), and that responses to reading an actual announcement of the discovery of extraterrestrial microbial life showed a greater positivity bias than responses to reading an actual announcement of the creation of man-made synthetic life (Study 2). Taken together, this work suggests that our reactions to a future confirmed discovery of microbial extraterrestrial life are likely to be fairly positive.