Relationship between scientific knowledge and fortune-telling

Paichi Pat Shein, Yuh-Yuh Li, Tai-Chu Huang

This study takes on a relational and situated perspective to understand the relationship between scientific knowledge and fortune-telling. Measures included socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge of scientific facts and methods, and fortune-telling beliefs and practices. A sample of 1863 adults was drawn from a population of Taiwanese citizens using the method of probability proportional to size. The findings showed that knowledge of scientific methods was negatively associated with fortune-telling beliefs. However, knowledge of scientific facts was, by and large, positively associated with engagement in fortune-telling practices, a phenomenon known as cognitive polyphasia. This study does not imply that science communication or education have no effect on promoting scientific knowledge; rather, it hopes to encourage researchers and practitioners to use a culturally sensitive lens to rethink the role of science in society and its relationship with other forms of knowledge and belief.

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