Principal investigator
Philip M. Fernbach

Humility & Conviction in Public Life project at the University of Connecticut; the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility at CU Boulder; the National Science Foundation; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Collaboration + support
Leeds School of Business; Washington University in St. Louis; the University of Toronto; the University of Pennsylvania

If you think you’re a whiz on a hot-button topic like vaccines, you might want to think again. 

In a study conducted by the Leeds School of Business at CU Boulder, people who reported having the most extreme views opposing genetically modified (GM) foods thought they knew the most about the science behind it, but actually knew the least when tested on the topic. 

The results reinforce the perverse psychology of extremism, study author Philip Fernbach explained. People with extreme views often believe they know more about a subject than they do. 

Fernbach and co-author Nicholas Light, a Leeds School of Business PhD candidate in marketing, plan to also look at how that psychology plays out for issues like vaccinations and nuclear power.