Lay Americans’ views of why scientists disagree with each other

Branden B. Johnson, Nathan Dieckmann

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    A survey experiment assessed response to five explanations of scientific disputes: problem complexity, self-interest, values, competence, and process choices (e.g. theories and methods). A US lay sample (n = 453) did not distinguish interests from values, nor competence from process, as explanations of disputes. Process/competence was rated most likely and interests/values least; all, on average, were deemed likely to explain scientific disputes. Latent class analysis revealed distinct subgroups varying in their explanation preferences, with a more complex latent class structure for participants who had heard of scientific disputes in the past. Scientific positivism and judgments of science’s credibility were the strongest predictors of latent class membership, controlling for scientific reasoning, political ideology, confidence in choice, scenario, education, gender, age, and ethnicity. The lack of distinction observed overall between different explanations, as well as within classes, raises challenges for further research on explanations of scientific disputes people find credible and why.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)824-835
    Number of pages12
    JournalPublic Understanding of Science
    Volume27
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

    Fingerprint

    Dissent and Disputes
    Education
    Mental Competency
    Experiments
    class membership
    Values
    positivism
    political ideology
    credibility
    ethnicity
    confidence
    Dispute
    Lay
    scenario
    lack
    experiment
    gender
    science
    Research
    education

    Keywords

    • bias
    • competence
    • complexity
    • lay explanations
    • public perceptions
    • scientific disputes

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Communication
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

    Cite this

    Lay Americans’ views of why scientists disagree with each other. / Johnson, Branden B.; Dieckmann, Nathan.

    In: Public Understanding of Science, Vol. 27, No. 7, 01.10.2018, p. 824-835.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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