A group processes approach to antiscience beliefs and endorsement of “alternative facts”

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Rutjens, BT 
van der Linden, S 
van der Lee, R 
Zarzeczna, N 

jats:p The global spread of antiscience beliefs, misinformation, fake news, and conspiracy theories is posing a threat to the well-being of individuals and societies worldwide. Accordingly, research on why people increasingly doubt science and endorse “alternative facts” is flourishing. Much of this work has focused on identifying cognitive biases and individual differences. Importantly, however, the reasons that lead people to question mainstream scientific findings and share misinformation are also inherently tied to social processes that emerge out of divisive commitments to group identities and worldviews. In this special issue, we focus on the important and thus far neglected role of group processes in motivating science skepticism. The articles that feature in this special issue cover three core areas: the group-based roots of antiscience attitudes; the intergroup dynamics between science and conspiratorial thinking; and finally, insights about science denial related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Across all articles, we highlight the role of worldviews, identities, norms, religion, and other inter- and intragroup processes that shape antiscientific attitudes. We hope that this collection will inspire future research endeavors that take a group processes approach to the social psychological study of science skepticism. </jats:p>

5205 Social and Personality Psychology, 52 Psychology, Mind and Body, Clinical Research, 3 Good Health and Well Being
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