Student Research

FYTing with Science: Ideological Differences on the Nature and Origin of Truth

Many people seem to embrace the idea of "Finding Your Truth" (FYT), wherein individualism has been extended to what is true and false, and the scientific method is just one way of seeing reality. In three pre-registered studies, we developed a multi-dimensional scale to measure FYT, and political liberals and conservatives evaluated disagreeing scientific (in the form of a researcher) and non-scientific (in the form of a professional or online commenter) perspectives on apolitical topics. Conservatives, compared to liberals, were more welcoming to non-scientific perspectives, an effect mediated by a stronger belief that intuitions are a valid source of truth (one dimension of FYT). However, conservatives and liberals have an equivalent tendency to see reality as subjective (another dimension of FYT), which also predicts endorsement of a science rejecter. The roots and implications of FYT thinking are discussed, including the idea that differences in science acceptance are not due only differences in reasoning ability, but also differences in belief about the nature of truth.