Science skepticism in times of COVID-19

Bastiaan T. Rutjens*, Sander van der Linden, Romy van der Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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In the current paper, we argue that to get a better understanding of the psychological antecedents of COVID-related science skepticism, it is pivotal to review what is known about the (social) psychology of science skepticism. Recent research highlighting the role of ideologies and worldviews in shaping science skepticism can inform research questions as well as pandemic responses to COVID-19. It is likely that the antecedents of general COVID-19-related skepticism substantially overlap with the antecedents of climate change skepticism. Additionally, skepticism about a potential vaccine in particular will likely be fueled by similar worries and misperceptions to those shaping more general antivaccination attitudes, of which conspiracy thinking is particularly worth highlighting. We conclude by reflecting on how the COVID-19 crisis may shape future social-psychological research aimed at understanding trust in science and science skepticism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-283
Number of pages8
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • climate change
  • conspiracy thinking
  • COVID-19
  • science skepticism
  • vaccination


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