The study surveyed thousands of Americans online, quizzing them on scientific facts and soliciting their opinions on eight contested topics, including the COVID-19 vaccine.
The researchers found that respondents who answered more factual questions correctly were more likely to agree with the scientific consensus about each topic. On the other hand, those who answered many factual questions incorrectly but thought they understood certain topics well were more likely to disagree with the scientific consensus.
For example, many who said in July 2020 that they would “definitely not get the vaccine” incorrectly answered questions about how viruses spread and how vaccines work, but then said they thought they had a “thorough understanding” of how a COVID-19 vaccine would work.
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