Searching for the Cognitive Basis of Anti-Vaccination Attitudes

Marjaana Lindeman, Annika M. Svedholm-Häkkinen, Tapani J.J. Riekki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Research on the reasons for vaccine hesitancy has largely focused on factors directly related to vaccines. In contrast, the present study focused on cognitive factors that are not conceptually related to vaccines but that have been linked to other epistemically suspect beliefs such as conspiracy theories and belief in fake news. This survey was conducted before the Covid-19 pandemic (N = 356). The results showed that anti-vaccination attitudes decreased slightly with cognitive abilities and analytic thinking styles, and strongly with scientific literacy. In addition, anti-vaccination attitudes increased slightly with teleological bias and strongly with an intuitive thinking style, ontological biases, and religious and paranormal beliefs. The results suggest that the same cognitive mechanisms that predispose to other epistemically suspect beliefs may predispose to anti-vaccination attitudes as well. The findings also indicate that pro-vaccination communication should focus on early prevention and that interventions against vaccine hesitancy should strive to be intuitively appealing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-136
JournalTHINKING AND REASONING
Volume29
Issue number1
Early online date4 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

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