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ERIC Number: EJ1006603
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 77
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
Epistemic Similarities between Students' Scientific and Supernatural Beliefs
Shtulman, Andrew
Journal of Educational Psychology, v105 n1 p199-212 Feb 2013
The evidential support for scientific claims is quantitatively and qualitatively superior to that for supernatural claims, yet students may not appreciate this difference in light of the fact that both types of claims are learned in similar ways (through testimony rather than firsthand observation) and perform similar functions (explaining observed phenomena in terms of unobservable entities). The present study addressed this issue by comparing students' scientific beliefs with their supernatural beliefs along 4 dimensions of epistemic import: personal confidence, perceived consensus, means of justification, and openness to revision. Participants' scientific beliefs were strongly differentiated from their supernatural beliefs along the dimensions of confidence and consensus but only weakly differentiated along the dimensions of justification and revision, particularly for participants with (a) higher levels of supernatural belief and (b) lower levels of understanding of the nature of science. Moreover, participants' confidence in both types of beliefs was associated with their consensus estimates but not with their ability to cite evidence in support of, or potentially in conflict with, those beliefs. These findings imply that many students' scientific beliefs are qualitatively similar to their supernatural beliefs, despite self-perceptions to the contrary. (Contains 3 tables and 4 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Massachusetts