Distinguishing Science-Related Variations in the Causal Universal of College Students' Worldviews

William W. Cobern, Ph.D.


An investigation derived from the logico-structural theory of worldview was conducted for the purpose of examining the relationship between science interest and variations in the Causal universal within college students' worldviews. This required the development of a special pen-and-paper instrument for detecting worldview variations in the Causal universal. The instrument was based on the assumption that when a student is faced with an unfamiliar phenomenon, he or she is more likely to accept an explanation that is more consistent with his or her worldview than an explanation of the phenomenon that is less consistent. The test involved making a choice between explanations that were scientifically-more and scientifically-less compatible. The test along with a measure of science interest was given to a 120 first year college students. The test alone was given to a group of professional scientists. The results suggested that there was considerable worldview variation among the students and that students who favored scientifically-more compatible explanations showed higher levels of science interest. It was also found, however, that even the students with science interest were less likely to choose a scientifically-more compatible explanation than were the professional scientists. It was concluded that the investigation lends corroboration to the logico-structural theory of worldview and provides a further rationale for pursuit of research in this area.


Science; Education;

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