Who Believes in the Storybook Image of the Scientist?

Last modified: May 22, 2017

How human do we recognize scientists to be? This article investigates the ”storybook image of the scientist,” in which the scientist is pictured as a person who embodies many virtues, such as objectivity, rationality and integrity. On the basis of a series of three experimental studies and one correlational study (total N = 3,278) it shows that the storybook image of the scientist is pervasive among both lay people and scientists themselves.

The authors argue that the storybook image conceals the fact that scientists are human and thereby prone to fallibility. They argue that the scientific community would benefit from acknowledging that science, just like any other professional endeavor that involves human beings, is also prone to human error and bias. ’It’s time to step off our pedestal, accept our humanness and collaborate to create and collaborate to create an open research culture that acknowledges, but at the same time addresses, our fallibility.’



Title: Who Believes in the Storybook Image of the Scientist?
Author: Veldkamp, CL, Hartgerink, CH, van Assen, MA, Wicherts, JM
doi: 10.1080/08989621.2016.1268922 (2016)

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