Trust in Science Can Be Risky Without Critical Mindset
Reminding people of the value of critical evaluation reduces belief in false claims, but reminding them of the value of trusting science does not.
“We conclude that trust in science, although desirable in many ways, makes people vulnerable to pseudoscience,” the researchers write. “These findings have implications for science broadly and the application of psychological science to curbing misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“People are susceptible to being deceived by the trappings of science,” says coauthor Dolores Albarracín, professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She says, for example, that COVID-19 vaccines have been the target of false claims that they contain pollutants or other dangerous ingredients. “It’s deception but it’s pretending to be scientific. So people who are taught to trust science and normally do trust science can be fooled as well.”
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