“I have long been interested in why people believe unsubstantiated claims, such as the paranormal belief in ghosts, the conspiracy theory that the 1969 moon landing was a hoax, the psychological misconception that the average person uses only 10% of his or her brain, and the pseudoscience, astrology, claiming that the position of the stars and planets at the moment of your birth determines your future.”
“My second textbook, Critical Thinking in Psychology and Everyday Life is designed to help students, not only to reason effectively about psychological questions but also to correct their misconceptions, reject pseudoscientific and paranormal claims, and recognize false conspiracy theories,” Bensley said.
“To assess learning outcomes related to critical thinking and rejection of unsubstantiated claims, I developed, along with my colleagues, measures of psychological misconceptions, belief in pseudoscience versus evidence-based practices, and measures of conspiracy theory belief.”
“Besides helping us to study the effectiveness of instruction with the critical thinking textbook, these measures have been useful for investigating people’s acceptance of unsubstantiated claims. In this new study, we have used these measures to examine the interesting question of how general is the acceptance of these unsubstantiated claims.”