Myths, misinformation, and sensationalism. These are common enemies that directly inhibit the public understanding of science. In particular, the media is often responsible for mishandling or otherwise misrepresenting scientific information, historically and presently speaking. Many sources can combat the public understanding of science through pseudoscientific means. This includes but is not limited to religion, the media, politics, or just simple hearsay. For example, Young Earth creationism is deeply rooted in Christian theology, but the beliefs hold no scientific basis. Yet, almost half of Americans still believe in Young Earth creationism. Another such example is anti-vaccination campaigns due to fears of autism-spectrum related disorders. In this case, falsified claims were given illegitimate credibility through the media, and the claims are widely and erroneously contentious to this day. The purpose of this research was to investigate the relationship between an individual's ability to dictate science from pseudoscience and their exposure to sensationalized media. Through means of surveying the university level population, relationships were drawn between how many pseudoscientific beliefs an individual may have versus how they interact with science and the media. The results of the survey showed a general lack of interest or care for science with more pseudoscientific beliefs, yet failed to draw a relationship between pseudoscientific beliefs and a sensationalized media.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
Office of Undergraduate Studies
Dissertations, Academic -- Office of Undergraduate Studies; Office of Undergraduate Studies -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Barsoum, Christopher, "Media Sensationalism and its Implications on the Public Understanding of Science" (2014). HIM 1990-2015. 1654.