Knowledge Overconfidence Fuels Anti-Scientific Views, Study Finds

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Psychology News

Researchers at Portland State University examined how knowledge overconfidence fosters anti-scientific views. The study is published in the journal Science Advances.

The Study

The researchers examined attitudes about several issues with scientific consensus on which anti-consensus views persist. These include climate change, nuclear power, genetically modified foods, the big bang, evolution, vaccination, homeopathic medicine, and COVID-19.

The Findings

The results revealed that overconfidence gets in the way of learning and reasoning. Extreme anti-consensus individuals are usually the most overconfident in their knowledge and vehemently opposed to scientific knowledge It is found that as people’s attitudes on an issue get further away from the scientific consensus—their assessments of their own knowledge increase but their actual knowledge decreases.

The ill consequences of these anti-consensus views are widespread and get manifested as property destruction, malnutrition, financial hardship, and death.

One of the lead researchers, Nicholas Light, remarked: “People with more extreme anti-scientific attitudes might first need to learn about their relative ignorance on the issues before being taught specifics of established scientific knowledge.

To Know More You May Refer To

Light, N., Fernbach, P. M., Rabb, N., Geana, M. V., & Sloman, S. A. (2022). Knowledge overconfidence is associated with anti-consensus views on controversial scientific issues. Science advances8(29), eabo0038.

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