The Scientific Impotence Excuse: Discounting Belief-Threatening Scientific Abstracts
Article first published online: 23 MAR 2010
© 2010 Copyright the Author. Journal compilation © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 40, Issue 3, pages 579–600, March 2010
How to Cite
Munro, G. D. (2010), The Scientific Impotence Excuse: Discounting Belief-Threatening Scientific Abstracts. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40: 579–600. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2010.00588.x
- Issue published online: 23 MAR 2010
- Article first published online: 23 MAR 2010
The scientific impotence discounting hypothesis predicts that people resist belief-disconfirming scientific evidence by concluding that the topic of study is not amenable to scientific investigation. In 2 studies, participants read a series of brief abstracts that either confirmed or disconfirmed their existing beliefs about a stereotype associated with homosexuality. Relative to those reading belief-confirming evidence, participants reading belief-disconfirming evidence indicated more belief that the topic could not be studied scientifically and more belief that a series of other unrelated topics could not be studied scientifically. Thus, being presented with belief-disconfirming scientific evidence may lead to an erosion of belief in the efficacy of scientific methods.