Science literacy, science curiosity, and education
Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 3:53AM
Dan Kahan

A science-curious commenter asked me what the relationship was between educational attainment and scores on the Ordinary Science Intelligence assessment (OSI) and on the Science Curiosity Scale (SCS), respectively.

I tried to entice him or her to make a prediction, so that we could have a proper WSMD? JA!, but he or she then fell silent.  I had the data ready to report, though, and figured they were interesting enough to share with the site's 12.3 billion readers (yes, we’re down 1.7 billion; suspiciously, subscriptions to the Gelman blog have increased by that amount).

Matching the pattern observed in relation to other demographic characteristics, the science-curiosity gap between individuals of relatively low and relatively high education levels is quite modest in comparison to the gap between these respective groups' OSI scores. (Consider, too, how much more informative, in a practical sense, the overlapping PDDs are compared to the regression-line plots.)

More evidence, then, that the social and economic conditions that generate inequality in science comprehension pose a much smaller barrier to being the sort of person who is awed by the insights of scientific inquiry. 

I think that’s pretty cool.

Article originally appeared on cultural cognition project (
See website for complete article licensing information.