In the current paper, we argue that to get a better understanding of the psychological antecedents of COVID-related science skepticism, it is pivotal to review what is known about the (social) psychology of science skepticism. Recent research highlighting the role of ideologies and worldviews in shaping science skepticism can inform research questions as well as pandemic responses to COVID-19. It is likely that the antecedents of general COVID-19-related skepticism substantially overlap with the antecedents of climate change skepticism. Additionally, skepticism about a potential vaccine in particular will likely be fueled by similar worries and misperceptions to those shaping more general antivaccination attitudes, of which conspiracy thinking is particularly worth highlighting. We conclude by reflecting on how the COVID-19 crisis may shape future social-psychological research aimed at understanding trust in science and science skepticism.
Using transactional analysis models of ego states (Berne 1961, 1964), the author proposes a typology of scientists and diagrams twelve types based on integrated ego states, contaminated Adult, and single ego state with dual exclusion. The typology is presented as the latest in what could be called the psychology of science, whose exemplars include Thomas Kuhn (1962/2012) and Abraham Maslow (1969). Psychology of science is differentiated from philosophy and theory of science, and existing research into the personality of scientists is explored. Of major importance is the apparent divide between scientist and practitioner in clinical and counselling psychologies.
Based on Feyerabend’s (1970) infamous quip about science that “anything goes”, the author shows how using a proposed transactional analysis of scientist types, Feyerabend’s comment can be understood three ways—Parent: “Scientists shouldn’t be so serious”; Adult: “It seems that anything goes”; and Child: “No rules!” It is only in their integration (P – A – C) that Feyerabend’s meaning can be understood. So, too, for the psychological practitioner, whose practice cannot be divorced from its scientific foundations. The author concludes by using the proposed typology to suggest how the same typology applied to practitioners may explain their responses to research.
In this article, I critically discuss the philosophy and psychology of science that are put forward by psychologists involved in the reform debates centered on the so-called “replication crisis” of the 2010s. Following the historian of psychology Laurence Smith, I describe the psychologists’ conception of the science system and individual psychology of the scientist as an “indigenous epistemology.” By first describing the indigenous epistemology of the reform movement, my aim is to constructively criticize it by making explicit how psychologists psychologize scientific psychology, and pointing to where such psychologizing needs more conceptual work, especially when it uses the work of philosophers of science. In their writing, the reformers tentatively subscribe to various positions on ways of knowing and functioning of the science system which exhibit fundamental inconsistencies. I suggest some ways for improving and deepening the discussion of epistemological positions that are taken in the replication crisis debates.
In the present article the general guidelines for a cultural psychology of science are proposed and discussed. In order to do so, the first section of this article presents a literature review of philosophical, sociological, and psychological studies of science during the 20th century. Through this review, it becomes clear that the existing studies of science have either neglected the personal role of the scientist, or subsumed it under collective elements, or reduced it to cognitive styles and personality traits. To overcome this shortcoming, the cultural psychology of science proposes to understand the scientist as a purpose-oriented person that constructively transforms culturally available meanings in order to create novel scientific knowledge. This new theoretical synthesis is presented and exemplified through four aspects that define the personal dimension of science. In sum, this work looks to emphasize the crucial, driving role of the person of the scientists for the creation of novel scientific knowledge.
We review findings from the psychology of science that are relevant to understanding or explaining peoples’ tendencies to believe both scientific and pseudoscientific claims. We discuss relevant theoretical frameworks and empirical findings to support the proposal that pseudoscientific beliefs arise in much the same way as other scientific and non-scientific beliefs do. In particular, we focus on (a) cognitive and metacognitive factors at the individual level; (b) trust in testimony and judgments of expertise at the social level; and (c) personal identity and the public’s relationship with the scientific community at a cultural level.
First impressions based on facial appearance predict many important social outcomes. We investigated whether such impressions also influence the communication of scientific findings to lay audiences, a process that shapes public beliefs, opinion, and policy. First, we investigated the traits that engender interest in a scientist’s work, and those that create the impression of a “good scientist” who does high-quality research. Apparent competence and morality were positively related to both interest and quality judgments, whereas attractiveness boosted interest but decreased perceived quality. Next, we had members of the public choose real science news stories to read or watch and found that people were more likely to choose items that were paired with “interesting-looking” scientists, especially when selecting video-based communications. Finally, we had people read real science news items and found that the research was judged to be of higher quality when paired with researchers who look like “good scientists.” Our findings offer insights into the social psychology of science, and indicate a source of bias in the dissemination of scientific findings to broader society.