This study serves to help educators identify and better understand the undergraduate student population who do not accept some issues of scientific consensus that spark public controversy, namely anthropogenic climate change (ACC) and Evolution. This investigation aims to explore if a students’ “Need for Cognition” (NfC) – a characteristic often used to predict academic success – is related to student perception of these issues. Our goals were threefold: first, to develop and validate a tool by which educators could evaluate students’ NfC, acceptance of ACC, and acceptance of evolution; second, to use this survey tool to better characterize the students who struggle with evolution and ACC; lastly, to derive suggestions for strategies to better address the needs of the students who do not accept ACC and/or Evolution. While these data only indicate a correlation between NfC and acceptance of controversial topics without evidence of causality, we suggest that it is worth studying whether the improvement of NfC might improve students’ acceptance of these types of controversial topics.
This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
Evidence-Based Learning: What is the Role of "Need for Cognition" in Introductory Biology Students' Acceptance of Anthropogenic Climate Change and Evolution?.
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