Learning to be Scientists

Why do people believe the things that they do? While only science can generate testable hypotheses, advocates of various paranormal claims tend to rely more on anecdotes, appeals to authority and “intuition” and the general public tends to be ambivalent about the distinction between science and the supernatural. Ongoing controversies over intelligent design in schools, climate change and vaccination have demonstrated that the public perception about science is often shallow due to misunderstandings about how science works.

A recent article published in the Journal of Educational Psychology presents the results of a research study directly comparing the processes that influence how people form opinions on scientific and paranormal concepts. Written by Andrew Shtulman of Occidental College in Los Angeles, the article is part of his research program studying conceptual development relating to science education and how people weigh the actual evidence involved before forming opinions on complex subjects.

To read more, check out my new post on the James Randi Education Foundation blog.


Related Stories

  • Learning to be Resilient
  • Race and Gender Discrimination in the Marines.
  • Does Psychotherapy Work?


The information provided on the PsyWeb.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of PsyWeb.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

PsyWeb Poll

Are you currently taking or have you ever been prescribed anti-depressants?
Total votes: 3979