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Motivated Rejection of Science


Lewandowsky, Stephan; Oberauer, Klaus (2016). Motivated Rejection of Science. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25(4):217-222.

Abstract

Some scientifically well-established results—such as the fact that emission of greenhouse gases produces global warming—are rejected by sizable proportions of the population in the United States and other countries. Rejection of scientific findings is mostly driven by motivated cognition: People tend to reject findings that threaten their core beliefs or worldview. At present, rejection of scientific findings by the U.S. public is more prevalent on the political right than the left. Yet the cognitive mechanisms driving rejection of science, such as the superficial processing of evidence toward the desired interpretation, are found regardless of political orientation. General education and scientific literacy do not mitigate rejection of science but, rather, increase the polarization of opinions along partisan lines. In contrast, specific knowledge about the mechanisms underlying a scientific result—such as human-made climate change—can increase the acceptance of that result.

Abstract

Some scientifically well-established results—such as the fact that emission of greenhouse gases produces global warming—are rejected by sizable proportions of the population in the United States and other countries. Rejection of scientific findings is mostly driven by motivated cognition: People tend to reject findings that threaten their core beliefs or worldview. At present, rejection of scientific findings by the U.S. public is more prevalent on the political right than the left. Yet the cognitive mechanisms driving rejection of science, such as the superficial processing of evidence toward the desired interpretation, are found regardless of political orientation. General education and scientific literacy do not mitigate rejection of science but, rather, increase the polarization of opinions along partisan lines. In contrast, specific knowledge about the mechanisms underlying a scientific result—such as human-made climate change—can increase the acceptance of that result.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Date:2016
Deposited On:16 Nov 2016 12:18
Last Modified:02 Feb 2018 10:42
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:0963-7214
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721416654436

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