Students’ Ideas Regarding Science and Pseudo-science in Relation to the Human Body and Health

Mats Lundström, Anders Jakobsson


This study investigates the pseudo-scientific and superstitious ideas Swedish upper-secondary students articulate and if there is a relationship between their ideas and their knowledge of the human body and health. The study is based on a questionnaire among 300 students in which the students were asked to consider statements related to different treatments that may influence the human body and health, and questions about physiology, health and nutrition. The analysis reveals that a relatively large group of students give credance to statements such as that some people can transfer thoughts or that the phases of the moon can affect a person’s health. The analysis also shows that there is no apparent relationship between the students’ pseudo-scientific beliefs and their scientific knowledge about the human body. Furthermore, although the results do not indicate a gender difference with regards to the power of faith in pseudo-scientific ideas, they do indicate that male and females consider these questions differently. The results imply a need for discussion and critical investigation in school science concerning the relationship between science and pseudo-scientific ideas in order to enhance critical thinking and development of the understanding of the nature of science.

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