FSU professor speaks out about Americans’ scientific knowledge

Susan Carol Losh

Susan Carol Losh, an associate professor in FSU’s Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, has received national media coverage for her research stating that while Americans are aware of more facts about science than 20 years ago, there is also an unsettling growth in the belief in pseudoscience like astrology, visits of space aliens and lucky numbers.

Losh was quoted in an AP article that ran in media including USA Today, Yahoo!, the Washington Post, Miami Herald and dozens of local newspapers and television stations.

According to Losh, "More recent generations know more factual material about science…[but] the news [on pseudoscience] is not good. One problem," Losh said, "is that pseudoscience can speak to the meaning of life in ways that science does not.

"What does astrology speak to? Love relationships," Losh said, noting that belief in horoscopes is much higher among women than men, according to the article.

Losh is a social psychologist and research methodologist. Her specialties are social cognition (including social perception, attitudes and public opinion) and group dynamics. A major focus of her research is how factors like education, gender or religious beliefs influence how people process and evaluate information, especially attitudes toward and understanding of science knowledge and support for pseudoscience. She is examining 24 years of National Science Foundation Surveys of Public Attitudes Toward Science and Technology.

Click here to read the article as it appeared in USA Today, "U.S. has more science smarts-for the most part."