Ideology is a key factor in determining how people assess the credibility of scientific researchers, according to a new UBC Sauder School of Business study.
People who tend toward an elitist world view are more inclined to judge white male researchers as more credible, while people who ascribe to egalitarian beliefs are the opposite: they’re more likely to judge women or people of colour as more credible researchers.
“Our studies suggest that belief systems affect how we judge academics in ways we may not be aware of,” said study co-author Karl Aquino, the Richard Poon Professor of Organizations and Society at UBC Sauder. “People might believe in the merits of research, but biases can still overpower logic and prevent people from evaluating scholars objectively.”
In a series of five studies, Aquino and his co-authors asked more than 900 participants in the United States, Canada and India to read research reports that included photos of researchers that varied by gender or race.