People who tend to trust their intuition or to believe that the facts they hear are politically biased are more likely to stand behind inaccurate beliefs, a new OSU study suggests. And those who rely on concrete evidence to form their beliefs are less likely to have misperceptions about high-profile scientific and political issues.
Previous research has shown connections between belief in conspiracy theories and education level, religious fundamentalism and party affiliation. In this study, a belief that truth is political was the strongest predictor of whether someone would buy into conspiracy theories. Garrett also found that those who rely on intuition to assess the truth had a stronger tendency to endorse conspiracies.
They examined data from three nationally representative surveys that included anywhere from 500 to almost 1,000 participants. Their aim was to better understand how people form their beliefs and how that might contribute to their willingness to accept ideas with little or no evidence to support them.
The researchers compared how participants’ approach to deciding what is true was related to their beliefs about hot-button topics. The study included questions about the debunked link between vaccines and autism and the science-based connection between human activity and climate change.
The researchers evaluated survey respondents’ tendency to agree with seven well-known conspiracy theories. More than 45 percent said they didn’t buy that John F. Kennedy was murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald alone; 33 percent agreed that the U.S. government was behind the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and 32 percent said Princess Diana’s death was orchestrated by the British royal family.
However, researchers said it’s important to acknowledge that our beliefs aren’t based solely upon political predispositions.
Although adults can beat children at most cognitive tasks, new research shows that children’s limitations can sometimes be their strength.
In two studies, researchers found that adults were very good at remembering information they were told to focus on, and ignoring the rest. In contrast, 4- to 5-year-olds tended to pay attention to all the information that was presented to them – even when they were told to focus on one particular item. That helped children to notice things that adults didn’t catch because of the grownups’ selective attention.
The results have important implications for understanding how education environments affect children’s learning.
The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute for Educational Science.
The American Talent Initiative, a collaborative of 30 founding colleges and universities, seeks to increase the number of low-income students at up to 270 of America’s top-performing institutions by 50,000 by 2025. The Ohio State University is a founding member of the collaborative.
Each founding institution has agreed to a renewed focus on enrolling, supporting and graduating additional low- and moderate-income students. Importantly, the institutions have also committed to sharing what they learn about making progress toward their goals with one another and with the broader higher education community and public.
Over the next decade, the American Talent Initiative plans to expand to a total of up to 270 schools that consistently graduate at least 70 percent of their students in six years or fewer. To reach the goal of 50,000 additional low- and moderate-income students among those colleges by 2025, the American Talent Initiative hopes to recruit 10,000 by 2020 and 25,000 by 2022.
Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake, an American Talent Initiative Steering Committee member, says the initiative will give thousands of students who believe higher education is beyond their reach the chance to attend the college of their dreams.