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Willingness to transmit and the spread of pseudoscientific beliefs

Abstract : Pseudoscientific beliefs are widespread and can be damaging. If several studies have examined the factors leading people to accept pseudoscientific beliefs, no attention has been paid to the factors contributing to people's willingness to transmit these beliefs. To test whether the willingness to transmit pseudoscientific beliefs contributes to their spread, independent of their believability, we asked participants to rate statements corresponding either to pseudoscientific beliefs (Myths), or to their (correct) negations (Non‐Myths). Statements were rated on believability, on how willing participants would be to transmit them, and on how knowledgeable they would make someone who produces them. Results revealed that participants who believed in Myths were more willing to transmit them than the participants who believed in Non‐Myths were willing to transmit Non‐Myths. A potential factor driving the increased willingness to transmit both Myths and Non‐Myths might be participants' belief that holding the beliefs makes one seem more knowledgeable.
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Contributor : Charlotte Bultel <>
Submitted on : Friday, December 18, 2020 - 8:45:51 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 3:29:20 AM




Y. Majima, H. Miton, Hugo Mercier. Willingness to transmit and the spread of pseudoscientific beliefs. Applied Cognitive Psychology, Wiley-Blackwell, 2018, 32 (4), pp.499-505. ⟨10.1002/acp.3413⟩. ⟨ijn_03081072⟩



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