Using more than 10% of our brains: Examining belief in science-related myths from an individual differences perspective

Viren Swami, Stefan Stieger, Jakob Pietschnig, Ingo W. Nader, Martin Voracek

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There currently exists a dearth of research on the transmission and assimilation of myths. To overcome this limitation, we developed a novel scale that measures belief in science-related myths. A total of 363 participants completed this new scale along with measures of personality (the Big Five factors), anti-scientific attitudes, and New Age orientation. Exploratory factor analysis showed that the items of the belief in myths scale could be reduced to two factors concerning human-related and non-human-related myths. Both factors were internally reliable, were moderately inter-correlated, and were not rated significantly differently by women and men (although human-related myths were rated as significantly more believable than non-human-related myths). Further analysis showed that only human myths were significantly predicted by anti-scientific attitudes and the Big Five factor of Extraversion. These results are discussed in relation to the promotion of scientific literacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-408
Number of pages5
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anti-scientific beliefs
  • Big Five
  • New Age orientation
  • Scientific myths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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