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Does awe turn people away from science?

09 September 2016

Documentaries about science often go heavy on awe-inspiring spectacle. However a new study discussed on our Research Digest blog suggests that when people who hold religious beliefs experience feelings of awe, this makes them even less likely to believe in science as a valid way to understand the world.

In his immensely popular TV shows, the pop star turned physicist Brian Cox is frequently depicted in awesome landscapes, staring into the distance, moody music in the background, reflecting on awe-inspiring facts about nature, such as that we are all essentially made of star dust. It seems like a powerful way to engage people in science.

But a new study published in Emotion suggests that this may not always be the case and, moreover, these feelings of awe could encourage both religious and non-religious people to endorse less credible scientific theories that emphasise order over randomness in the universe.

For more information on these fascinating findings, head on over to our Research Digest blog.


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