Despite the fact that the pandemic of the new corinavirushas been going on for a year now, a huge number of people around the world continue to doubt both the existence of the virus and that the COVID-19 vaccines are really effective. Take, for example, a recent poll by the Levada Center, according to which 64% of Russians believe that “the coronavirus was created artificially as a biological weapon,” and another 56% of compatriots assured that, in general, they are not afraid of contracting coronavirus. It is interesting that such monstrous results of the survey were announced against the background of the large-scale vaccination with "Sputnik V" deployed in the country. Meanwhile, the results of a new study found that people inclined to support conspiracy theories about the coronavirus tend to have a poor understanding of scientific principles and are more likely to refuse vaccinations. Note that 783 volunteers took part in the study about a week after the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Slovakia.
Pseudoscience haunts humanity
Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the mostgreat disasters that have befallen humanity in modern history. While modern science is ironically the only ray of hope in these dark times, pseudoscientific beliefs and worldviews retain their hold on humanity. Given the growing popularity of pseudoscientific beliefs and conspiracy theories about the origin and treatment of COVID-19, researchers have become interested in this issue.
“At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were too manyuncertainty and confusion about the best protection against coronavirus, ”said one of the study's authors, Vladimir Kavojova from the Center for Social and Psychological Sciences of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. "Scientists became the center of attention, and we assumed that people who better understand the work of scientists would be better able to navigate the sea of conflicting information and confront pseudoscientific and unsubstantiated beliefs."
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People with a better understanding of how scientists reason and how science works, according to work published in the Journal of Health Psychology less likely to fall prey to false COVID-19 conspiracy theories.
During the study, all 783 subjects wereasked to indicate whether they agree with various claims about the coronavirus conspiracy, such as that SARS-CoV-2 is a biological weapon designed to reduce the world's population or that COVID-19 is just a fake, common flu that pharmaceutical companies have touted to boost drug sales.
Participants also took an ability testreasoning scientifically in which they were asked to answer six true or false statements, such as: “Researchers want to figure out how to increase fertility. They ask for statistical information and see that more babies are being born in cities with more hospitals. This discovery implies that the construction of new hospitals will increase the birth rate of the population. "
In addition, all study participants completeda test for knowledge of the coronavirus, belief in unfounded claims related to health, as well as the ability for analytical reasoning and attitude towards the movement of opponents of vaccinations. The authors of the scientific paper found that those who strongly supported conspiracy theories tended to score low on the scientific reasoning test. Moreover, subjects with the lowest scores on the scientific reasoning test were more likely to approve of unfounded general health beliefs and anti-vaccine attitudes.
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As the study authors note, the most importantThe conclusion of their work is that while scientific reasoning helps people distinguish reasonable assumptions backed by evidence from unfounded beliefs, in times of crisis such as a pandemic, people rely on any previous beliefs and attitudes when interpreting new evidence, and those who are more inclined to to unfounded beliefs will be more vulnerable to any disinformation that emerges.
“The ability to reason scientifically is only part ofpuzzles in understanding how people make sense of the world in turbulent times "- write the authors of the study. "When people's feelings take over, they react intuitively and emotionally, which makes it even more difficult to use scientific reasoning."
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Note that during the study, scientists did notfound no evidence that scientific reasoning ability is associated with fulfilling coronavirus restrictions, such as social distancing. The authors of the new study, according to psypost, are now working on another similar study, which they conducted in November, during the next wave of COVID-19 in Slovakia. Scientists have found that a failure to reason scientifically is also associated with a reluctance to follow government-recommended rules.