Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

The dark side of belief in Covid-19 scientists and scientific evidence

Graso, Maja, Henwood, Amanda, Aquino, Karl, Dolan, Paul and Chen, Fan Xuan (2022) The dark side of belief in Covid-19 scientists and scientific evidence. Personality and Individual Differences, 193. ISSN 0191-8869

[img] Text (PAID - Belief in Science (Accepted)) - Accepted Version
Repository staff only until 11 March 2024.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Request a copy

Identification Number: 10.1016/j.paid.2022.111594


We draw from an interdisciplinary literature on convictions to examine the manifestations and consequences of firmly held beliefs in Covid-19 (C19) science. Across three studies (N = 743), we assess participants' beliefs in C19 experts, and beliefs in supported and unsupported empirical evidence. Study 1 establishes the basic theoretical links and we show that an individual's belief in science on C19 is associated with dispositional belief in science and moralization of C19 mitigation measures. Our subsequent two studies show how stronger belief in C19 science influences distrust in unmasked individuals past the mandates, and greater endorsement of pandemic mitigation authoritarianism. We document the dark side that emerges when belief in C19 science extends beyond the generally desirable scientific literacy and manifests as a conviction that public health experts are the only ones who can handle the pandemic, and that even unsupported claims about C19 are supported by scientific evidence (e.g., risk of outdoor transmission is high). We also highlight our political ideology findings showing that both liberals and conservatives mis-calibrate C19 risks in different ways, and we conclude with discussing how examining the darker side of scientific beliefs can inform our understanding of people's reactions to the pandemic.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 Elsevier Ltd
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2022 14:03
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2022 08:06

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics