Understanding (and responding to) scepticism about science (2015–2017)
Many people hold beliefs that defy scientific consensus. A standard response when a scientist faces
resistance to an evidence-based message is to keep explaining the evidence as clearly and thoroughly as
possible (explication). We argue that explication fails because people are motivated to hold on to nonscientific
beliefs for reasons other than the motivation to find the truth. We propose qualitative and
quantitative techniques to identify these hidden motivations. We then use these insights to test
psychologically tailored interventions designed to interrupt or circumnavigate these underlying motives, with
the goal of promoting environmental responsibility and population health.