In the following, we display some of the materials frequently used in our research.
Faith in Science Scale
The Faith in Science scale consists of items from Farias et al. (2013) and Hayes and Tariq (2000) and is made up of 5 items measuring belief in science. Participants respond on a 7-point Likert scale, ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree), where high scores indicate high faith in science. The scale has been applied in multiple studies investigating science skepticism (Rutjens et al., in press, 2018; Rutjens & van der Lee, 2020). It can be used as follows:
Please read the statements presented below carefully and indicate to what extent you agree or disagree with each statement:
- We believe too often in science, and not enough in feelings and faith. (reversed)
- Science tells us everything there is to know about what reality consists of.
- The scientific method is the only reliable path to knowledge.
- The only real kind of knowledge we can have is scientific knowledge.
- Science is the most efficient means of attaining truth.
Manipulating Psychological Distance to Gene Editing
In a recent study investigating the role of psychological distance in gene editing skepticism, Zarzeczna et al. (2021) showed that framing scientific findings as psychologically close decreases people’s skepticism towards science. The authors exposed participants to newspaper-like articles, which presented gene editing (specifically CRISPR-Cas) to be either psychologically distant, close, or neutral. In a follow-up study, the authors were able to show that the articles manipulated spatial distance, one of the four facets of psychological distance. You can find the articles used to manipulate psychological distance below. The article on the left induced high psychological distance (distant condition), the article in the middle induced low psychological distance (close condition), and the article on the right did not refer to psychological distance at all (neutral condition).
Extended Science Literacy Test
In the original science literacy questionnaire, participants are confronted with 8 statements about scientific facts. The statements were drawn from the National Science Boards’s “Science and Engineering Indicators” and the International Social Survey Program (ISSP) Environment 1993 (National Science Board, 2010). For each statement, participants are asked to indicate whether they think it is true or false (see Hayes & Tariq, 2000; Kahan et al., 2012; Rutjens et al., 2018, 2021; Rutjens & van der Lee, 2020; Zarzeczna et al., 2021). To evaluate the test, a sum score of all correctly answered question is calculated.
The extended science literacy test consists of 5 additional items from the National Science Board, the ISSP Environment 1993, and the BBC Bitesize exams (BBC Bitesize, n.d.; National Science Board, 2010), capturing a broader range of scientific knowledge. It can be used as follows:
Please answer the following questions to the best of your ability.
- All human-made chemicals can cause cancer.
- All radioactivity is made by humans.
- The center of the earth is very hot.
- The continents on which we live have been moving their location for millions of years and will continue to move in the future.
- The oxygen we breathe comes from plants.
- Electrons are smaller than atoms.
- It is the father’s chromosome that determines whether the baby is a boy or a girl.
- Antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria.
- Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.
- The earliest humans lived at the same time as the dinosaurs.
- Astrology has some scientific truth.
- Light travels faster than sound.
- Lasers work by focusing sound waves.
BBC Bitesize. (n.d.). GCSE. BBC Bitesize. Retrieved June 1, 2021, from https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/levels/z98jmp3
Farias, M., Newheiser, A., Kahane, G., & de Toledo, Z. (2013). Scientific faith: Belief in science increases in the face of stress and existential anxiety. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49(6), 1210–1213. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2013.05.008
Hayes, B. C., & Tariq, V. N. (2000). Gender differences in scientific knowledge and attitudes toward science: A comparative study of four Anglo-American nations. Public Understanding of Science, 9(4), 433–447. https://doi.org/10.1088/0963-6625/9/4/306
Kahan, D. M., Peters, E., Wittlin, M., Slovic, P., Ouellette, L. L., Braman, D., & Mandel, G. (2012). The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks. Nature Climate Change, 2(10), 732–735. https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1547
Rutjens, B. T., Sengupta, N., van der Lee, R., van Koningsbruggen, G. M., Martens, J. P., Rabelo, A., & Sutton, R. M. (2021). Science skepticism across 24 countries. Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Rutjens, B. T., Sutton, R. M., & van der Lee, R. (2018). Not all skepticism is equal: Exploring the ideological antecedents of science acceptance and rejection. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33(4), 384–405. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167217741314
Rutjens, B. T., & van der Lee, R. (2020). Spiritual skepticism? Heterogeneous science skepticism in the Netherlands. Public Understanding of Science, 29(3), 335–352. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662520908534Zarzeczna, N., Véckalov, B., Niehoff, E., & Rutjens, B. T. (2021). Decreased psychological distance to gene editing reduces public scepticism.