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.

           

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