The stereotyping of science: superficial details influence perceptions of what is scientific


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Douglas S. Krull, Department of Psychological Science, Northern Kentucky University, MEP 353, Highland Heights, KY 41099, USA. E-mail:


Previous research indicates that superficial details can influence judgments about science. The current research investigated whether the content of research influences judgments about whether research is scientific. In Experiment 1, participants judged topics and equipment associated with natural science to be more scientific than topics and equipment associated with behavioral science. Experiment 2 found that natural science topics combined with natural science equipment were rated as more scientific than all other combinations. Experiment 3 replicated these findings and found that research using natural science topics and natural science equipment was also judged to be more important. Thus, although science is defined by its method, the topic being investigated and the equipment being used influence judgments about what is scientific.