The Scientific Impotence Excuse:
Discounting Belief-Threatening Scientific Abstracts

Authors

  • Geoffrey D. Munro

    Corresponding author
    1. Towson University
      Geoffrey D. Munro, Department of Psychology Towson University, Towson, MD 21252. E-mail: gmunro@towson.edu
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Geoffrey D. Munro, Department of Psychology Towson University, Towson, MD 21252. E-mail: gmunro@towson.edu

Abstract

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.

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