The role of conspiracy mentality in denial of science and susceptibility to viral deception about science

Asheley R. Landrum, Alex Olshansky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Members of the public can disagree with scientists in at least two ways: people can reject well-established scientific theories and they can believe fabricated, deceptive claims about science to be true. Scholars examining the reasons for these disagreements find that some individuals are more likely than others to diverge from scientists because of individual factors such as their science literacy, political ideology, and religiosity. This study builds on this literature by examining the role of conspiracy mentality in these two phenomena. Participants were recruited from a national online panel (N = 513) and in person from the first annual Flat Earth International Conference (N = 21). We found that conspiracy mentality and science literacy both play important roles in believing viral and deceptive claims about science, but evidence for the importance of conspiracy mentality in the rejection of science is much more mixed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-209
Number of pages17
JournalPolitics and the Life Sciences
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Conspiracy theories
  • Fake news
  • Flat Earth
  • Motivated reasoning
  • Public acceptance of science
  • Public understanding of science
  • Science communication

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