The coexistence and conflict of pseudoscience belief and scientific literacy: Investigate adults’ engagement in scientific and pseudoscientific activities

Shu Fen Lin, Huann Shyang Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The first purpose of this study was to investigate whether Taiwanese adults’ pseudo-scientific beliefs and engagement in pseudo-scientific activities (i.e. watching pseudo-scientific TV programs) changed significantly. The second purpose was to investigate the relationship among science literacy, pseudo-scientific beliefs, and engagement in scientific and pseudo-scientific activities. According to the levels of subjects’ scientific literacy and pseudo-scientific beliefs in 2015 civic science literacy survey, a representational sample of adults was categorized into nine groups to investigate the difference of scientific literacy, scientific and pseudo-scientific affection and practice aspects among three groups with different levels of pseudo-scientific beliefs, and which groups of adults had more experience of pseudoscience health practice. The data base of 2012 and 2015 civic science literacy survey was analyzed. The results indicated that Taiwanese adults’ pseudo-scientific beliefs descended significantly from 2012 to 2015, but their pseudo-scientific experience of health practices (e.g. magnetic therapy) increased significantly. The main factor that influenced adults’ participation in pseudo-scientific health practices was their pseudo-scientific beliefs, rather than their scientific literacy. Among the adults with lows scientific literacy, youth, married, and women seem accept most easily pseudo-scientific belief. It is noted that people with high pseudoscientific beliefs had significantly higher scores of enjoyment in scientific learning than those with medium pseudoscientific beliefs. There are more adults with high education background in the group with high pseudoscientific beliefs. People with higher pseudoscientific beliefs may be interested in learning science and accept scientific and pseudoscientific things, but they lack ability to distinguish between science and pseudoscience. To decrease possible harm from pseudoscience, it is suggested that certain topics (i.e. health, medical treatment) for women to distinguish science from pseudo-science should be addressed in public science education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-97
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Research in Education Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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