Jylhä, Kirsti Stanley, Samantha K., Ojala, Maria & Edward J.R. Clarke | 2022
Science denial has adverse consequences at individual and societal levels and even for the future of our planet. The present article aimed to answer the question: What leads people to deny even the strongest evidence and distrust the scientific method? The article provides a narrative review of research on the underpinnings of science denial, with the main focus on climate change denial. Perspectives that are commonly studied separately are integrated. We review key findings on the roles of disinformation and basic cognitive processes, motivated reasoning (focusing on ideology and populism), and emotion regulation in potentially shaping (or not shaping) views on science and scientific topics. We also include research on youth, a group in an important transition phase in life that is the future decision-makers but less commonly focused on in the research field. In sum, we describe how the manifestations of denial can stem from cognitive biases, motivating efforts to find seemingly rational support for desirable conclusions, or attempts to regulate emotions when feeling threatened or powerless. To foster future research agendas and mindful applications of the results, we identify some research gaps (most importantly related to cross-cultural considerations) and examine the unique features or science denial as an object of psychological research. Based on the review, we make recommendations on measurement, science communication, and education.