Increases in science skepticism among the public represent an important societal challenge. While recent research has shed light on some of the ideological correlates of specific manifestations of science skepticism – such as climate change denial and vaccine hesitancy – a unifying psychological principle that can be applied to science skepticism more generally has not yet been identified. In this ERC-funded project, the PsySci Lab investigates psychological distance to science (PSYDISC) as a precursor of science skepticism in various domains, ranging from climate science to vaccination and artificial intelligence, as well as of general trust in science.

Example publications

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

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]

Većkalov, B., Zarzeczna, N., Niehoff, E., McPhetres, J., & Rutjens, B. T. (2021). A matter of time… Temporal orientation and perception contribute to the ideology gap in climate change scepticism. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 78, 101703