In the following, we display some of the materials frequently used in our research. Note: this page needs updating.

Psychological Distance to Science Scale

We developed a scale to measure Psychological distance to science (Većkalov et al., 2024). The scale consists of four subscales. Responses given on a scale from 1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree:

Hypothetical distance to science

  1. Scientific knowledge is a reliable way to solve important issues. R (reverse-coded item)
  2. Science provides accurate information about the world we live in. R
  3. I can see the effects of science, whether positive or negative, on the world.  R
  4. We can rely on science to deliver results that can be implemented in real life.  R

Social distance to science

  1. The prospect of working as a scientist seems beyond my reach.
  2. Scientists are very different from me.
  3. I rarely interact with scientists in real life.
  4. It would be difficult for me to meet with a scientist.

Spatial distance to science

  1. People from my local area don’t become scientists.
  2. Very few scientists live or work in my town.
  3. Science and scientific research play a big role in my local area. R
  4. Scientific research really contributes to my local area. R

Temporal distance to science

  1. Most of today’s science is concerned with solving problems of the distant future. 
  2. We will see the impact of science more in the distant future than we do in the present.
  3. Science is mainly focused on the distant future. 
  4. Scientists spend most of their time working on issues of the distant future. 

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:

  1. We believe too often in science, and not enough in feelings and faith. (reversed)
  2. Science tells us everything there is to know about what reality consists of.
  3. The scientific method is the only reliable path to knowledge.
  4. The only real kind of knowledge we can have is scientific knowledge.
  5. Science is the most efficient means of attaining truth.

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.

Please answer the following questions to the best of your ability.

  1. All human-made chemicals can cause cancer.
  2. All radioactivity is made by humans.
  3. The center of the earth is very hot.
  4. The continents on which we live have been moving their location for millions of years and will continue to move in the future. 
  5. The oxygen we breathe comes from plants.
  6. Electrons are smaller than atoms.
  7. It is the father’s chromosome that determines whether the baby is a boy or a girl.
  8. Antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria.
  9. Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.
  10. The earliest humans lived at the same time as the dinosaurs.
  11. Astrology has some scientific truth.
  12. Light travels faster than sound.
  13. Lasers work by focusing sound waves. 


BBC Bitesize. (n.d.). GCSE. BBC Bitesize. Retrieved June 1, 2021, from

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.

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.

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.

National Science Board. (2010). Science and Engineering Indicators: 2010. In Annals of the ICRP (Vol. 17, Issues 2–3).

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.

Rutjens, B. T., & van der Lee, R. (2020). Spiritual skepticism? Heterogeneous science skepticism in the Netherlands. Public Understanding of Science, 29(3), 335–352.

Većkalov, B., Zarzeczna, N., McPhetres, J., van Harreveld, F., & Rutjens, B. T. (2024). Psychological distance to science as a predictor of science skepticism across domains. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 50(1), 18–37. [link]

Zarzeczna, N., Većkalov, B., Niehoff, E., & Rutjens, B. T. (2021). Decreased psychological distance to gene editing reduces public scepticism.