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Vaccinations are critical to public health but uptake levels remain suboptimal. Intellectual humility, a virtue characterized by nonjudgmental recognition of one’s own intellectual fallibility, may support the promotion of favorable vaccine attitudes. The current study investigated whether intellectual humility is related to anti-vaccination attitudes and intentions to vaccinate against the flu. Through an online survey management system, participants (N = 246, Mage = 39.06 years, SDage = 10.57, 50.80% female, 79.20% White, 6.50% Black/African American, 7.80% Asian, 1.20% Hispanic/Latino, and 5.30% Other) completed a measure for intellectual humility, the anti-vaccination attitudes (VAX) scale, and a three-item flu vaccine intention scale. We found that intellectual humility negatively correlated with anti-vaccination attitudes. This correlation was largely driven by openness to revising one’s viewpoint and lack of intellectual overconfidence. Additionally, we found that intellectual humility did not relate to flu vaccination intentions. Finally, we discuss the implications of these findings and their potential to support the eventual development of strategies to leverage intellectual humility into a health promotion strategy.
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Psychology, Health & Medicine
ISSN: (Print) (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cphm20
Intellectual humility’s association with vaccine
attitudes and intentions
Amy R. Senger & Ho P. Huynh
To cite this article: Amy R. Senger & Ho P. Huynh (2020): Intellectual humility’s association with
vaccine attitudes and intentions, Psychology, Health & Medicine
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2020.1778753
Published online: 16 Jun 2020.
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Intellectual humility’s association with vaccine attitudes
and intentions
Amy R. Senger
a
and Ho P. Huynh
b
a
Department of Psychology and Philosophy, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX, USA;
b
Department of Science and Mathematics, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA
ABSTRACT
Vaccinations are critical to public health but uptake levels remain
suboptimal. Intellectual humility, a virtue characterized by nonjudg-
mental recognition of one’s own intellectual fallibility, may support the
promotion of favorable vaccine attitudes. The current study investi-
gated whether intellectual humility is related to anti-vaccination atti-
tudes and intentions to vaccinate against the u. Through an online
survey management system, participants (N = 246, M
age
= 39.06 years,
SD
age
= 10.57, 50.80% female, 79.20% White, 6.50% Black/African
American, 7.80% Asian, 1.20% Hispanic/Latino, and 5.30% Other) com-
pleted a measure for intellectual humility, the anti-vaccination atti-
tudes (VAX) scale, and a three-item u vaccine intention scale. We
found that intellectual humility negatively correlated with anti-
vaccination attitudes. This correlation was largely driven by openness
to revising one’s viewpoint and lack of intellectual overcondence.
Additionally, we found that intellectual humility did not relate to u
vaccination intentions. Finally, we discuss the implications of these
ndings and their potential to support the eventual development of
strategies to leverage intellectual humility into a health promotion
strategy.
ARTICLE HISTORY
Received 1 November 2019
Accepted 2 June 2020
KEYWORDS
Intellectual humility;
vaccination; vaccine
attitudes; vaccination
intentions; flu
In 2017, only 33.4% of young and middle age adults received the flu vaccine (Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention; CDCP, 2017). Vaccinating against the influenza virus
can lower the chance of contracting the virus and is crucial for public health (CDCP,
2018); however, vaccination uptake remains suboptimal. Intellectual humility, a virtue
characterized by having a ‘nonthreatening awareness of one’s intellectual fallibility’
(Krumrei-Mancusco & Rouse, 2016, p. 210), may help counter this trend. In this study,
we investigated whether intellectual humility is related to vaccine attitudes and intention
to vaccinate against the flu virus.
Intellectual humility
Although various definitions of intellectual humility exist (e.g. Davis et al., 2016; Hoyle
et al., 2016; Samuelson et al., 2015), in this paper, we subscribed to a multidimensional
conceptualization of intellectual humility, which has four facets (Krumrei-Mancusco &
CONTACT Ho P. Huynh hhuynh@tamusa.edu Department of Science and Mathematics, Texas A&M University-
San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78224, USA
PSYCHOLOGY, HEALTH & MEDICINE
https://doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2020.1778753
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Rouse, 2016). First, independence of intellect and ego allows a person to be secure in their
own opinions. Second, openness to revising one’s viewpoint facilitates change in one’s
opinion when faced with convincing alternative evidence. Third, respect for other’s
viewpoints allows civil discourse to take place when discussing concepts or ideas despite
holding a conflicting view. Finally, lack of intellectual overconfidence helps one avoid
intellectual hubris.
Intellectual humility is often studied within contentious topics such as religion and
politics (Hoyle et al., 2016; Leary et al., 2017; Porter & Schumann, 2018). For example,
prior research demonstrates that people high in intellectual humility are less willing to
perceive their religious views as superior and are more likely to label essays arguing the
opposing religious view as accurate (Leary et al., 2017). Relatedly, researchers have found
that intellectually humble pastors were more tolerant of diverse religious views (Hook
et al., 2017). Regarding politics, research indicated that intellectually humble people were
more likely to seek dissenting opinion articles about a contentious topic than articles
confirming their own views (Porter & Schumann, 2018). These findings especially
illustrate intellectual humility’s facet of openness to revising one’s viewpoint.
Furthermore, intellectual humility is also studied within areas of cognition (Krumrei-
Mancuso et al., 2019). Intellectual humility’s facet of lack of intellectual overconfidence
appears to take the center stage in the topic of cognition. For instance, people with low
intellectual humility are known to overestimate their performance on cognitive tests
(Krumrei-Mancuso et al., 2019). When people overestimate their performance, it indi-
cates an inflated view of self, which is inconsistent with the facet of lack of intellectual
overconfidence. Furthermore, intellectual humility has a positive association with scores
of general knowledge (Krumrei-Mancuso et al., 2019), which indicates that people who
are intellectually humble are more knowledgeable in general. This relationship may exist
because intellectually humble people are open to new information or because of their
curiosity and mastery orientation (Krumrei-Mancuso et al., 2019).
These findings across different topics suggest that intellectual humility may help
transcend a range of controversial beliefs (Hoyle et al., 2016) because it allows for civil
discourse to occur and it may increase people’s openness to opposing views. Increasing
people’s openness to opposing views is particularly important within vaccination
research because people who know less about vaccinations inaccurately perceive them-
selves as knowing as much or more than healthcare professionals (Motta et al., 2018).
Intellectual humility shows promise for applications in vaccination research because of
its potential to open people to alternative views and its association with higher levels of
knowledge. In particular, people who are high in intellectual humility may be more
willing to reject inflexible anti-vaccination attitudes and may be more willing to consider
vaccinating.
Attitudes toward vaccination
Vaccination attitudes are positive, negative, or neutral evaluations of vaccines (see Eagly
& Chaiken, 1993). Recent research on anti-vaccination attitudes has conceptualized anti-
vaccination attitudes as a multidimensional construct with four facets (Martin & Petrie,
2017). The first facet, mistrust of vaccine benefit, illustrates people’s disbelief in vaccines’
ability to protect against infectious diseases. For example, someone who does not trust in
2A. R. SENGER AND H. P. HUYNH
the flu vaccine’s ability to protect against the flu would most likely have anti-vaccination
attitudes. The second facet of anti-vaccination attitudes is worries about vaccine’s unfore-
seen future effects. A person who has anti-vaccination attitudes may have concerns about
vaccines causing unforeseen complications. The third facet of anti-vaccination attitudes
are concerns about commercial profiteering. Due to vaccines’ affiliations with large
production companies, people may question whether companies market vaccines to
earn a profit or whether vaccines are a legitimate necessity for public health (Martin &
Petrie, 2017). Finally, the fourth facet is preference for natural immunity (Martin &
Petrie, 2017). Some people may hold the misconception that natural immunity is super-
ior to any immunity vaccines could provide, which results in anti-vaccination attitudes.
As introduced, knowledge is an important element of intellectual humility (Krumrei-
Mancuso et al., 2019) and may play a key role in determining how intellectual humility is
related to vaccination attitudes. However, knowledge has a complicated relationship with
vaccination attitudes and uptake. Some research shows that people who know less about
vaccinations are more likely to receive them, in part, because they tend to rely on their
health provider’s recommendations (Larson et al., 2014; Leask et al., 2012; Redelings
et al., 2012). Whereas, other research shows that people who know less about vaccina-
tions are more likely to have negative attitudes towards vaccinations and are less likely to
receive vaccinations (Larson et al., 2014; Martinello et al., 2003; Motta et al., 2018; Tong
et al., 2008). For example, individuals who knew less about the relationship between
autism and vaccines thought they knew as much or more than medical or scientific
professionals (Motta et al., 2018). In other words, prior research demonstrates that
increased knowledge may be related to increased negative attitudes toward vaccinations
and decreased negative attitudes toward vaccinations.
A nuanced understanding of knowledge as it relates intellectual humility may assuage
this apparent contradiction in the literature. Intellectual humility is related to one’s
general knowledge and is about understanding that one’s knowledge can be wrong
(Krumrei-Mancuso et al., 2019). Therefore, in one instance, people who know little
about vaccinations but hold strong negative feelings toward vaccinations (i.e. low knowl-
edge, strong anti-vaccinations attitudes; the Dunning-Kruger effect) may be low in
intellectual humility because of their apparent intellectual overconfidence. Whereas in
the other case, people who may have done extensive research and have a great deal of
knowledge about vaccinations but hold strong negative feelings about vaccinations (i.e.
high knowledge, strong anti-vaccination attitudes) may also be low in intellectual humi-
lity because their established knowledge leads them to be inflexible in their views and
closed-off to the possibility of revising them. As such, we expect intellectual humility to
be negatively related to anti-vaccination attitudes.
Vaccine intentions
Intention to vaccinate or vaccine intention is a popular outcome measure used to predict
vaccination rates, especially in studies related to HPV vaccine or HIV prophylaxis
(Barnack et al., 2010; Dhalla et al., 2012). Vaccine intentions are often measured in
conjunction with vaccination attitudes as both are important in determining actual
health behavior (i.e. theory of planned behavior; Ajzen, 1991; Kahn et al., 2003).
Attitudes are also a common predictor of vaccine intentions in addition to the benefits
PSYCHOLOGY, HEALTH & MEDICINE 3
of vaccination, such as reduction of disease-related complications and a reduced need for
medical attention (Myers & Goodwin, 2011). Additionally, knowledge of vaccines pre-
dicts vaccine uptake (Betsch & Wicker, 2012). Since knowledge of vaccinations is
a significant predictor of vaccine behavior, intellectual humility could potentially aid in
efforts to increase vaccination against the flu by opening people to scientific knowledge
about vaccines that they may not have considered otherwise.
Summary and hypotheses
The current literature shows that intellectual humility is beneficial across various situa-
tions such as politics, religion, cognition (Hoyle et al., 2016; Krumrei-Mancuso et al.,
2019; Porter & Schumann, 2018). However, it remains unknown whether intellectual
humility is associated with anti-vaccination attitudes and flu vaccine intentions. The
objective of the study was to investigate the relationships among intellectual humility,
vaccine attitudes, and flu vaccine intentions. We hypothesized that participants who have
higher levels of intellectual humility would have weaker anti-vaccination attitudes and
stronger flu vaccine intentions.
Method
Participants
Participants (N = 245) were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) and were
compensated 2.00 USD for their participation. Participants were eligible to participate if
they were 18 or older and lived in the United States. We limited participation to
U.S. residents because we wanted to investigate vaccine attitudes in the U.S. context.
The mean age was 39.06 years (SD = 10.57), 50.80% were female, and the majority
identified as White (79.20%; Black/African American 6.50%, Asian 7.80%, Hispanic/
Latino 1.20%, Other 5.30%). See Table 1 for a summary of participant demographics.
Table 1. Summary of participant demographics.
Variable Frequency Percent
Sex
Male 121 49.2
Female 125 50.8
Highest Level of Education
High school graduate (high school diploma or equivalent including GED) 39 15.9
Some college but no degree 51 20.7
Associate degree in college (2-year) 35 14.2
Bachelor’s degree in college (4-year) 101 41.1
Master’s degree 15 6.1
Doctoral degree 2 0.8
Professional degree (JD, MD) 3 1.2
Race/Ethnicity
White/Caucasian 194 79.2
Black/African American 16 6.5
Asian/Pacific Islander 19 7.8
Hispanic/Latino 3 1.2
Other 13 5.3
4A. R. SENGER AND H. P. HUYNH
Measures
Intellectual humility was measured using the Comprehensive Intellectual Humility
Scale (Krumrei-Mancusco & Rouse, 2016). The scale consisted of the four subscales:
Independence of Intellect and Ego; Openness to Revising One’s Viewpoint; Respect
for Other’s Viewpoints, and Lack of Intellectual Overconfidence. Participants indi-
cated their agreement/disagreement to items across all subscales using a five-point
Likert scale: (1) = strongly disagree to (5) = strongly agree. A higher score indicated
higher intellectual humility.
Anti-vaccine attitudes were measured using the Vaccine Attitudes Examination
(VAX) Scale (Martin & Petrie, 2017). The VAX scale contained four subscales:
Mistrust of Vaccine Benefit, Worries about Unforeseen Future Effects, Concerns about
Commercial Profiteering, and Preference for Natural Immunity. Participants indicated
their agreement/disagreement with various statements using a six-point Likert scale
(1) = strongly disagree and (6) = strongly agree. A higher score indicated stronger anti-
vaccination attitudes.
Flu vaccine intentions were measured using a three-item flu vaccine scale (Sar &
Rodriguez, 2019). Participants indicated their agreement/disagreement with these
statements using a seven-point Likert scale (1) = not at all and (7) = extremely
likely. See Table 2 for means, standard deviations, and Cronbach’s alphas for all
measures.
Procedure
All study materials and procedures were approved by the authors’ Institutional
Review Board. Participants clicked on a link forthe online study hosted on
Qualtrics, a survey management system. Following consent procedures, participants
completed the study measures and provided demographic information. To control
for potential order effects, the main study measures were presented in random
order. Lastly, participants read a debriefing statement and were thanked for their
participation.
Table 2. Summary of possible ranges, cronbach’s alphas, means, standard deviations, and percentile
scores for each scale and subscale.
Percentiles
Scale/Subscale Possible Range α Mean SD 5 10 25 50 75 90 95
Intellectual Humility overall 1–5 .90 3.75 0.59 2.82 2.95 3.39 3.82 4.14 4.45 4.73
Independence of intellect and ego - .94 3.42 1.16 1.51 2.00 2.40 3.70 4.40 5.00 5.00
Openness to revising one’s viewpoint - .89 4.11 0.74 2.71 3.02 3.80 4.00 4.80 5.00 5.00
Respect for other’s viewpoints - .89 4.23 0.70 3.00 3.33 3.83 4.33 4.83 5.00 5.00
Lack of intellectual overconfidence - .85 3.25 0.81 1.83 2.17 2.67 3.17 3.83 4.33 4.83
VAX scale overall 1–6 .86 2.34 1.16 1.00 1.10 1.40 2.00 2.93 4.29 4.80
Mistrust of vaccine benefit - .96 2.17 1.16 1.00 1.00 1.33 2.00 2.67 3.67 5.00
Worries – unforeseen future effects - .90 2.76 1.42 1.00 1.00 1.67 2.67 3.67 5.00 5.33
Concerns – commercial profiteering - .93 2.07 1.34 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.67 2.67 4.33 5.00
Preference for natural immunity - .93 2.32 1.40 1.00 1.00 1.00 2.00 3.00 4.67 5.33
Flu Vaccine Intentions 1–7 .86 3.60 1.95 1.00 1.00 1.92 3.33 5.33 6.67 7.00
N = 245.
PSYCHOLOGY, HEALTH & MEDICINE 5
Results
A correlation analysis was performed to test our hypotheses. We hypothesized that
intellectual humility would be negatively associated with anti-vaccination attitudes and
positively associated with flu vaccine intentions. The results supported the first hypoth-
esis but not the second. Overall intellectual humility and overall anti-vaccination atti-
tudes were negatively associated r(237) = −.14, p =.04. The subscales of Openness to
Revising One’s Viewpoint and Lack of Intellectual Overconfidence were largely respon-
sible for driving this significant correlation. Openness to Revising One’s Viewpoint was
negatively correlated with Mistrust of Vaccine Benefits, r(237) = −.22, p = .001, Concerns
about Commercial Profiteering, r(237) = −.18, p = .004, and Preference for Natural
Immunity, r(237) = −.20, p = .002. Additionally, Lack of Intellectual Overconfidence
was negatively correlated with Worries about Unforeseen Future Effects, r(237) = −.21,
p = .001, Concerns about Commercial Profiteering, r(237) = −.25, p < .001, and
Preference for Natural Immunity, r(237) = −.28, p < .001.
Overall intellectual humility and flu vaccine intentions were not significantly asso-
ciated r(234) = .08, p = .25. However, flu vaccine intentions negatively correlated with the
overall VAX scale and its subscales r(234) = −.44., p < .001. See Table 3 for a summary of
the correlations.
Discussion
We hypothesized that intellectual humility would be negatively associated with anti-
vaccination attitudes, and the results confirmed this hypothesis. We also hypothesized
that intellectual humility would positively correlate with flu vaccine intentions. However,
the results failed to support the second hypothesis. Overall, the findings align with the
current literature regarding intellectual humility’s psychological benefits.
One possible explanation for the inverse relationship between anti-vaccination atti-
tudes and intellectual humility might be intellectual humility’s relationship to knowledge.
Table 3. Summary of correlations.
Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1. Intellectual Humility overall
2. Independence of intellect and
ego
.62** –
3. Openness to revising one’s
viewpoint
.73** .18**
4. Respect for other’s viewpoints .74** .22** .56**
5. Lack of intellectual
overconfidence
.72** .14* .50** .42**
6. VAX scale overall −.14* 0 −.19** .03 −.24**
7. Mistrust of vaccine benefit −.12 0 −.22** −.03 −.13* .83**
8. Worries – unforeseen future
effects
−.12 −.05 −.12 .06 −.21** .91** .60**
9. Concerns – commercial
profiteering
−.14* .02 −.18** .02 −.25** .92** .68** .78**
10. Preference for natural
immunity
−.13* .05 −.20** .04 −.28** .86** .64** .75** .79**
11. Flu Vaccine Intentions .08 0 .12 .03 .09 −.44** −.48** −.37** −.35** −.37**
N = 245. *Correlations are significant with p <.05 **Correlations are significant with p <.01.
6A. R. SENGER AND H. P. HUYNH
This relationship could be explained by the associations between anti-vaccination atti-
tudes and the intellectual humility facets of openness to revising one’s viewpoint and lack
of intellectual overconfidence. Specifically, it could be that people who are low in
intellectual humility hold anti-vaccination attitudes because they have high levels of
knowledge about vaccines, which may lead them become inflexible in their viewpoints.
It could also be that people who are low in intellectual humility hold anti-vaccination
attitudes because they have an unsubstantiated level of confidence for their level of
knowledge (i.e. a Dunning-Kruger effect; Motta et al., 2018).
Additionally, since intellectual humility is positively associated with general knowl-
edge (Krumrei-Mancuso et al., 2019), it may be that people who are more intellectually
humble are less likely to subscribe to anti-vaccination attitudes because they are aware of
scientific knowledge on the subject. Alternatively, it could be that people who show more
intellectual humility may simply not agree with anti-vaccination attitudes but possess
a neutral attitude towards vaccines because they are aware of alternatives, although not
necessarily scientific arguments. For instance, when people with high intellectual humi-
lity sought out an opposing view, it did not indicate their agreement with the opposing
view, but simply their openness to hearing alternative arguments (e.g. Porter &
Schumann, 2018).
The second finding that anti-vaccination attitudes were negatively associated with flu
vaccine intentions supports current literature on the relationship between attitudes and
intentions. Previous research indicates that people who hold positive vaccine attitudes
are more likely to have higher intentions to vaccinate (Kahn et al., 2003). Our current
findings add further support to past literature by demonstrating that anti-vaccination
attitudes inversely relate to flu vaccine intentions. Vaccine attitudes are a known pre-
dictor of vaccine intentions (Myers & Goodwin, 2011) so it follows that people, who were
more likely to agree with anti-vaccination attitudes, were subsequently less likely to
intend to vaccinate against the flu.
Lastly, the finding that flu vaccine intentions did not correlate with intellectual
humility warrants further research into the subject. The lack of association could be
due to limitations of the current study such as the time of year the study took place as
discussed in the limitations section. Alternatively, it could be that people who were
intellectually humble were open to knowledge about vaccines, which predicts intentions
(Betsch & Wicker, 2012), but have not come into contact with a convincing enough
argument. Intellectually humble people are open to alternative viewpoints (Hoyle et al.,
2016; Krumrei-Mancuso et al., 2019; Porter & Schumann, 2018); however, remaining
open to an argument does not guarantee agreement or the revising of one’s viewpoint.
Perhaps, intellectually humble people are open to information but have not come into
contact with an argument that has convinced them to vaccinate against the flu, especially
during the summer months.
Given the associations found, it is possible that intellectual humility may be useful as
a health-promotion strategy in the future. For example, other researchers have found that
people may temporarily change their levels of humility (e.g. Kruse et al., 2017). Thus, it
may be possible that manipulations to increase momentary (state) levels of humility, such
as expressing gratitude (Kruse et al., 2014) or engaging in experiences that increase the
feeling of awe (Stellar et al., 2018), may decrease anti-vaccination attitudes. Further study
is needed to investigate what specific strategies can increase intellectual humility, and
PSYCHOLOGY, HEALTH & MEDICINE 7
how such an increase may affect vaccination attitudes and intentions to vaccinate against
the flu. Special attention may need to be paid to the role of care providers (e.g. Huynh &
Dicke-Bohmann, 2020; Huynh et al., 2018). The current study lends evidence to support
the potential development of future interventions by establishing that a relationship
exists between intellectual humility and anti-vaccination attitudes.
Limitations and future directions
Some limitations of the study are the time of year the study took place, the study’s specific
focus on the influenza vaccination, and correlational design. Flu season takes place
during the months of January-October (CDCP, 2018). The current study took place
over the summer months, which could have resulted in overall lower vaccination inten-
tions due to the season. Future studies may consider investigating intentions during the
height of flu season, which may result in overall higher intentions to vaccinate as there is
a present and motivating need for the flu vaccine at that time. Additionally, the current
study only focused on the flu vaccine. It remains unknown whether the results of the
current study may generalize to other vaccinations as it is known that vaccine attitudes
(i.e. vaccine hesitancy) varies from vaccine to vaccine (MacDonald, 2015). Therefore,
caution should be exercised when generalizing the results of this study to other vaccines.
Finally, the current study is correlational in nature. Even if flu vaccination intentions
and/or behaviors directly correlated with intellectual humility, experimental manipula-
tion would still be needed to determine causality. Future studies should investigate if
intellectual humility can be induced and used to alter vaccine attitudes, intentions, and
uptake.
Conclusion
Flu vaccinations are an important part of public health, but still suffer from suboptimal
participation rates. Our study provides evidence for intellectual humility’s inverse rela-
tionship with anti-vaccination attitudes. With further research, intellectual humility may
be included in future public health efforts to increase flu vaccine uptake.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
Funding
This research was supported by a Research Grant from the Psi Chi International Honors Society.
ORCID
Ho P. Huynh http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9931-7467
8A. R. SENGER AND H. P. HUYNH
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10 A. R. SENGER AND H. P. HUYNH
... To our knowledge, there is only one study that has directly examined the relationship between intellectual humility and anti-vaccination attitudes (Senger & Huynh, 2020). Thus, a critical evaluation of their findings is imperative to the current study. ...
... Thus, research is needed to demonstrate intellectual humility's ability to predict anti-vaccination attitudes above and beyond other factors (e.g., demographics). Senger and Huynh (2020) also found that intellectual humility was unrelated to intentions to vaccinate against the seasonal flu. ...
... Recently, intellectual humility was studied within the contentious topic of vaccinations (Senger & Huynh, 2020). Using an online sample, the researchers found that intellectual humility negatively (but weakly) correlated with anti-vaccination attitudes. ...
Article
Vaccinations remain a critical, albeit surprisingly controversial, health behavior, especially with the promise of widely available COVID‐19 vaccine. Intellectual humility, a virtue characterized by nonjudgmental recognition of one's own intellectual fallibility, may counter rigidity associated with anti‐vaccination attitudes and help promote vaccine‐related behaviors. This study investigated whether intellectual humility is related to anti‐vaccination attitudes and intentions to vaccinate against COVID‐19, and whether intellectual humility can predict unique variance in these outcomes beyond participant demographic and personal factors. Participants (N = 351, 57.23% male, mean age = 37.41 years, SD = 11.51) completed a multidimensional measure for intellectual humility, the anti‐vaccination attitudes (VAX) scale, and a two‐item COVID‐19 vaccination intention scale. Bivariate correlations demonstrated that intellectual humility was negatively related with anti‐vaccination attitudes overall, r(349) = −.46, p < .001, and positively related to intentions to vaccinate against COVID‐19, r(349) = .20, p < .001. Hierarchical multiple regression revealed that intellectual humility predicted all four types anti‐vaccination attitudes, overall anti‐vaccination attitudes, and COVID‐19 vaccination intentions above and beyond demographic and personal factors (i.e., sex, race/ethnicity, age, education, socioeconomic status, and political orientation), ΔR2 between .08 and .18, ps < .001. These results bolster intellectual humility as a malleable psychological factor to consider in efforts to combat anti‐vaccination attitudes and promote COVID‐19 vaccination uptake.
... Intellectual humility is also associated with intentions to forgive and reconcile with others who have hurt one or offended one's beliefs 40,108 . Furthermore, intellectual humility might support interpersonal cohesion by reducing derogative behaviours during arguments, such as labelling opponents as malicious or unintelligent 19,109 . Closed-minded thinking can lead individuals to disparage others' opinions or arguments 110 . ...
... Intellectually humbler people are less likely to claim falsely that they have seen certain statements before 116 . Likewise, intellectually humbler people are more likely to scrutinize misinformation and are more likely to intend to receive the COVID-19 vaccine 109,117 . ...
Article
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In a time of societal acrimony, psychological scientists have turned to a possible antidote — intellectual humility. Interest in intellectual humility comes from diverse research areas, including researchers studying leadership and organizational behaviour, personality science, positive psychology, judgement and decision-making, education, culture, and intergroup and interpersonal relationships. In this Review, we synthesize empirical approaches to the study of intellectual humility. We critically examine diverse approaches to defining and measuring intellectual humility and identify the common element: a meta-cognitive ability to recognize the limitations of one’s beliefs and knowledge. After reviewing the validity of different measurement approaches, we highlight factors that influence intellectual humility, from relationship security to social coordination. Furthermore, we review empirical evidence concerning the benefits and drawbacks of intellectual humility for personal decision-making, interpersonal relationships, scientific enterprise and society writ large. We conclude by outlining initial attempts to boost intellectual humility, foreshadowing possible scalable interventions that can turn intellectual humility into a core interpersonal, institutional and cultural value. Intellectual humility involves acknowledging the limitations of one’s knowledge and that one’s beliefs might be incorrect. In this Review, Porter and colleagues synthesize concepts of intellectual humility across fields and describe the complex interplay between intellectual humility and related individual and societal factors.
... Efforts may be made to appeal to people's intellectual humility as a strategy because intellectual humility has been demonstrated to be both related to more open discussions of political disagreements 69,70 and anti-vaccination attitudes. 71 Our results indicated that trust in one's primary care provider is a significant predictor of vaccination intention against COVID-19, accounting for additional variance above and beyond all other factors. This finding regarding physician/care provider trust aligns with particularly if they have a trusting relationship with that provider. ...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across the world. Public health efforts to combat the disease and return life to normalcy largely rests upon COVID-19 vaccination distribution and uptake. Thus, it is critical to examine factors that predict people’s intentions to vaccinate. This study explored predictors of intention to vaccinate against COVID-19 among demographic and personal factors, health behaviors and beliefs, COVID-19-specific beliefs, and trust in physicians, using a sample of U.S. adults. We employed bivariate correlations and hierarchical regression to analyze the data. We found that the strongest predictors are political orientation, trust in physicians, subjective norms, and prior flu shot uptake. These associations suggest that individuals who held more liberal political views, expressed higher levels of trust in their primary care provider, perceived stronger social pressure to vaccinate against COVID-19, and received a flu shot during the previous flu season, had a stronger intention to vaccinate against COVID-19. Based on our results, we suggest that public health efforts to increase vaccination uptake for COVID-19 vaccines focus on addressing political orientation (conservatism), involve primary care providers, emphasize vaccination as the norm (and not the exception), and use information about previous flu vaccinations to target vaccination campaigns.
... As an example, let us point to the very current, pandemic-related issue. Two interesting recent studies showed a negative relationship between intellectual humility and anti-vaccination attitudes related to both flu (Senger & Huynh, 2020) and COVID-19 (Huynth & Senger, 2021). The number of published studies is constantly growing but, so far, most of them have utilised a cross-sectional design for which self-report was the predominant approach to measuring IH (Hoyle & Krumrei-Mancuso, 2021). ...
Article
Full-text available
Though having been emphasised by philosophers and theologians for centuries, it is only in the last few years that the concept of intellectual humility has been explicitly defined and studied by empirical psychology. However, it has been long enough to recognise the prominent role that being intellectually humble plays for humane functioning, both at an intra-and inter-individual level. Having started with a broader philosophical and historical context, the present paper discusses the psychological conceptualisa-tions of intellectual humility. Then the recent empirical studies are reviewed, including four strands of research referring to personality traits, cognitive functioning, social relations and religiosity. After presenting selected results, the prospects of psychological research on intellectual humility are discussed, including the limitations and challenges of measurement techniques as well as possible directions for future studies. key words intellectual humility; modesty; virtues; accuracy of self-knowledge Intellectual humility: an old problem in a new psychological perspective corresponding author-Wacław Bąk, Ph.D.
... Burgeoning research suggests that IH is modestly related to cognitive ability, including the ability to distinguish between strong and weak forms of evidence in addition to real and fictitious claims (Krumrei-Mancuso, Haggard, LaBouff, & Rowatt, 2019;Leary et al., 2017). IH may be germane to holding certain attitudes and beliefs, as well, including decreased endorsement of anti-vaccination attitudes (Senger & Huynh, 2020). Moreover, IH is negatively associated with narcissism, ...
Article
Objective We sought to replicate and extend provisional research on the personological correlates of conspiracy beliefs by examining their associations with abnormal‐ and normal‐range personality domain‐level traits and, for the first time, lower‐order personality facets; we also examined internalizing symptoms. Method The study comprised four samples of community and student participants (Ntotal=1,927), and examined the cross‐sectional relations between self‐reported conspiratorial ideation and measures of (a) the six‐factor model of general personality, (b) intellectual humility, (c) traits relevant to certain personality disorder features (narcissism, psychopathy, disinhibition), and (d) internalizing symptoms (depression, anxiety, anger). Results Agreeableness and conscientiousness were significant, albeit modest, negative correlates of conspiracy beliefs, although other general personality dimensions tended to manifest negligible associations. Significant associations between lower‐order personality facets and conspiracy beliefs, not evident at the domain level, emerged. Indices of intellectual humility were significant negative correlates. Conspiracy beliefs were also associated with a range of personality disorder features and internalizing symptoms. Conclusions Our results suggest that the nonclinical individual prone to conspiratorial ideation is somewhat likely to display a complex mixture of traits including distress, immodesty, impulsivity, and negative affect. Future research should investigate potential multiplicative relations among personological variables in predicting conspiracy beliefs.
... Burgeoning research suggests that IH is modestly related to cognitive ability, including the ability to distinguish between strong and weak forms of evidence in addition to real and fictitious claims (Krumrei-Mancuso, Haggard, LaBouff, & Rowatt, 2019;Leary et al., 2017). IH may be germane to holding certain attitudes and beliefs, as well, including decreased endorsement of anti-vaccination attitudes (Senger & Huynh, 2020). Moreover, IH is negatively associated with narcissism, ...
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Objective: We sought to replicate and extend research on the personological correlates of conspiracy beliefs by examining their associations with abnormal- and normal-range personality domain-level traits and, for the first time, lower-order personality facets; we also examined internalizing symptoms. Method: The study comprised four samples of community and student participants (Ntotal=1,927), and examined the cross-sectional relations between self-reported conspiratorial ideation and measures of (a) the six-factor model of general personality, (b) intellectual humility, (c) personality disorder traits (narcissism, psychopathy, disinhibition), and (d) internalizing symptoms (depression, anxiety, anger). Results: Agreeableness and conscientiousness were significant negative correlates of conspiracy beliefs, although other general personality dimensions tended to manifest negligible associations. Significant associations between lower-order personality facets and conspiracy beliefs, not evident at the domain level, emerged. Indices of humility were also significant negative correlates. Conspiracy beliefs were also associated with a range of personality disorder features and internalizing symptoms. Conclusions: Our results provisionally suggest that the nonclinical individual prone to conspiratorial ideation is likely to display distress, immodesty, impulsivity, and negative affect. Future research should investigate potential multiplicative relations among personological variables in predicting conspiracy beliefs.
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In Italy, like in other countries, issues still exist regarding how to reach high vaccine coverage and several countries have considered policies to increase vaccine uptake. In the present study, we focused on people who have a favorable attitude towards vaccination. In March-April 2021, we asked a representative sample of Italian participants (N=1,530) to assess to what extent they would support the adoption of a COVID-19 vaccination certificate, excluding unvaccinated people from participating in public and cultural events. Furthermore, as the vaccination coverage increases, severe forms of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization more likely involve unvaccinated individuals, who might be perceived as those who don’t contribute to ending the pandemic and who constitute a significant health cost for society. We then asked participants to assess to what extent they would favor the idea of requiring people who refuse the vaccine to pay for their own medical expenses in case of hospitalization. We hypothesized that support for the adoption of the vaccination certificate would be predicted by the COVID-19 vaccination status (received, booked, high-, medium-, low-willingness to be vaccinated, or refused) and by the same factors that are known to affect the willingness to get vaccinated. These factors were also tested in a model aimed at investigating if a vaccinated person would favor a measure requiring the unvaccinated individuals to pay for medical expenses. Results confirmed that the support toward the vaccination certificate policy was strongly predicted by the vaccination status and by factors known to affect the willingness to get vaccinated. Interestingly (and surprisingly), a similar pattern was observed for the support of the policy about medical expenses. In conclusion, support for a COVID-19 vaccination certificate was high among the Italian population in the early phases of the vaccination rollout. The findings are discussed considering potential policies to tackle the pandemic.
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Test anxiety is common and may lead to a range of negative outcomes, including poor exam performance. Therefore, it is important to explore psychological predictors of test anxiety. In this paper, we examined whether intellectual humility can predict test anxiety. In Study 1, college students ( N = 181) completed an intellectual humility measure with four subscales and two different measures of test anxiety. In Study 2 ( N = 196), a community sample recruited from an online workforce completed the same measures. In both studies, we found that intellectual humility was negatively related to test anxiety, such that higher intellectual humility predicted lower test anxiety. Specifically, Study 1 demonstrated a negative correlation between intellectual humility and the Sarason Test Anxiety Scale; Study 2 confirmed this negative relationship with both the Sarason and Westside test anxiety scales. We also found that this relationship was largely driven by the intellectual humility subscale of Independence of Intellect and Ego. Additionally, these results were present even when controlling for key demographic factors. These findings highlight intellectual humility’s role in predicting exam anxiety and offer a potential avenue for intellectual humility to be leveraged into interventions to decrease exam anxiety in the future.
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We addressed key questions regarding the relations between intellectual humility (IH) and endorsing/believing misinformation by (1) understanding what aspects of IH best predict endorsing/believing misinformation, (2) examining whether IH is related to endorsing/believing multiple manifestations of misinformation (pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, fake news), and (3) investigating whether these relations are specific to IH as opposed to relevant covariates. Across three samples, the IH measure assessing intrapersonal, interpersonal, and emotional features tended to be a stronger negative correlate of endorsing/believing misinformation than the IH measure assessing intrapersonal features alone. IH was generally related to less conspiratorial ideation and susceptibility to fake news. Nevertheless, IH tended to not be related to pseudoscience measures. Finally, these relations were generally robust after controlling for covariates.
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Objective: In medicine, numerous commentaries implore clinicians (e.g., physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners) to display more humility. However, given the complex power dynamics between patients and clinicians, one should not presume that patients desire and appreciate humble clinicians. This paper examines the relationship between clinician humility and patient outcomes, and aims to provide empirical evidence for the significance of clinician humility. Methods: In two studies, patients (N = 497) recalled their most recent visit to a clinician through an online survey platform (Qualtrics). Patients rated their clinician's humility, satisfaction and trust with their clinician, and health status. They also provided demographic information (e.g., gender, race, subjective SES), details about their clinician (e.g., gender, race, professional status) and information about their last medical visit with this clinician (e.g., purpose of visit, wait time during visit). Results: Through hierarchical multiple regression, we demonstrated that clinician humility positively predicted patient satisfaction, trust, and self-report health (only in Study 2) above and beyond patient, clinician, and visit characteristics. Conclusion: The results demonstrated that clinician humility can predict important patient outcomes above and beyond objective characteristics of the medical interaction. Practice implications: These findings may shape clinician-patient interactions by validating the pursuit of humility during medical encounters.
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Five studies (N = 1,189) examined how intellectual humility (IH) relates to acquiring knowledge (learning). IH was associated with more general knowledge, but was unrelated to cognitive ability, and associated with slightly lower GPA. Findings were also mixed for meta-cognition. IH was associated with less claiming of knowledge one doesn’t have, indicating a more accurate assessment of one’s knowledge. However, IH was also associated with underestimating one’s cognitive ability. The differences may have resulted from using multiple measures of IH, each tapping unique aspects of the construct. Finally, IH was associated with a variety of characteristics associated with knowledge acquisition, including reflective thinking, need for cognition, intellectual engagement, curiosity, intellectual openness, and open-minded thinking. IH was also associated with less social vigilantism, which may promote collaborative learning. Finally, IH was associated with an intrinsic motivation to learn. These links may help explain the observed relationship between IH and possessing more knowledge.
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Strong disagreements have stymied today’s political discourse. We investigate intellectual humility – recognizing the limits of one’s knowledge and appreciating others’ intellectual strengths – as one factor that can make disagreements more constructive. In Studies 1 and 2, participants with higher intellectual humility were more open to learning about the opposition’s views during imagined disagreements. In Study 3, those with higher intellectual humility exposed themselves to a greater proportion of opposing political perspectives. In Study 4, making salient a growth mindset of intelligence boosted intellectual humility, and, in turn, openness to opposing views. Results suggest that intellectual humility is associated with openness during disagreement, and that a growth mindset of intelligence may increase intellectual humility. Implications for current political polarization are discussed.
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Humility is a core psychological process theoretically marked by low self-focus, secure identity, and balanced awareness of strengths and weaknesses. We began with a consensual definition of humility before theoretically unpacking it. First, using 25 samples and 2622 adults, we developed the Brief State Humility Scale, which demonstrates strong construct validity and good reliability, is sensitive to experimental manipulation, and is uncorrelated with social desirability. Second, using this measure, we replicated previously reported relationships involving interpersonal processes; revealed links between state humility and intrapersonal processes (e.g. affect, creativity, and personality); and demonstrated key theoretical differences between state humility and modesty. This framework highlights new avenues for humility research and suggests how humility plays a critical role in emotional experience.
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This study investigates the interactions between mood (positive/negative) and information processing style (item-specific/relational/narrative processing) on responses to three types of advertising messages (ungrouped list/grouped list/narrative ads). A mood congruency effect was postulated and found to influence recall, persuasion and behavioral intention. Results supported the hypothesis that message effectiveness was moderated by mood in the direction of congruency. That is, participants in a positive mood recalled more information, were more persuaded, and were more likely to adopt the recommended behavior after exposure to advertisements with a grouped list format. Evidence regarding similarity of factors influencing relational and narrative processing is presented.
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Objective: Although the benefits of vaccines are widely recognized by medical experts, public opinion about vaccination policies is mixed. We analyze public opinion about vaccination policies to assess whether Dunning-Kruger effects can help to explain anti-vaccination policy attitudes. Rationale: People low in autism awareness - that is, the knowledge of basic facts and dismissal of misinformation about autism - should be the most likely to think that they are better informed than medical experts about the causes of autism (a Dunning-Kruger effect). This "overconfidence" should be associated with decreased support for mandatory vaccination policies and skepticism about the role that medical professionals play in the policymaking process. Method: In an original survey of U.S. adults (N = 1310), we modeled self-reported overconfidence as a function of responses to a knowledge test about the causes of autism, and the endorsement of misinformation about a link between vaccines and autism. We then modeled anti-vaccination policy support and attitudes toward the role that experts play in the policymaking process as a function of overconfidence and the autism awareness indicators while controlling for potential confounding factors. Results: More than a third of respondents in our sample thought that they knew as much or more than doctors (36%) and scientists (34%) about the causes of autism. Our analysis indicates that this overconfidence is highest among those with low levels of knowledge about the causes of autism and those with high levels of misinformation endorsement. Further, our results suggest that this overconfidence is associated with opposition to mandatory vaccination policy. Overconfidence is also associated with increased support for the role that non-experts (e.g., celebrities) play in the policymaking process. Conclusion: Dunning-Kruger effects can help to explain public opposition to vaccination policies and should be carefully considered in future research on anti-vaccine policy attitudes.
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Humility is a foundational virtue that counters selfish inclinations such as entitlement, arrogance, and narcissism (Tangney, 2000). We hypothesize that experiences of awe promote greater humility. Guided by an appraisal-tendency framework of emotion, we propose that when individuals encounter an entity that is vast and challenges their worldview, they feel awe, which leads to self-diminishment and subsequently humility. In support of these claims, awe-prone individuals were rated as more humble by friends (Study 1) and reported greater humility across a 2-week period (Study 2), controlling for other positive emotions. Inducing awe led participants to present a more balanced view of their strengths and weaknesses to others (Study 3) and acknowledge, to a greater degree, the contribution of outside forces in their own personal accomplishments (Study 4), compared with neutral and positive control conditions. Finally, an awe-inducing expansive view elicited greater reported humility than a neutral view (Study 5). We also elucidated the process by which awe leads to humility. Feelings of awe mediated the relationship between appraisals (perceptions of vastness and a challenge to one's world view) and humility (Study 4), and self-diminishment mediated the relationship between awe and humility (Study 5). Taken together, these results reveal that awe offers one path to greater humility. (PsycINFO Database Record
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Four studies examined intellectual humility—the degree to which people recognize that their beliefs might be wrong. Using a new Intellectual Humility (IH) Scale, Study 1 showed that intellectual humility was associated with variables related to openness, curiosity, tolerance of ambiguity, and low dogmatism. Study 2 revealed that participants high in intellectual humility were less certain that their beliefs about religion were correct and judged people less on the basis of their religious opinions. In Study 3, participants high in intellectual humility were less inclined to think that politicians who changed their attitudes were “flip-flopping,” and Study 4 showed that people high in intellectual humility were more attuned to the strength of persuasive arguments than those who were low. In addition to extending our understanding of intellectual humility, this research demonstrates that the IH Scale is a valid measure of the degree to which people recognize that their beliefs are fallible.
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Background Anti-vaccination attitudes are important predictors of vaccination behavior. Existing measures of vaccination attitudes focus on specific age groups and/or particular vaccines; a more comprehensive measure would facilitate comparisons across studies. PurposeThe aim of this study was to develop a short measure of general vaccination attitudes and establish its reliability and validity. Methods Two studies were conducted using the VAX scale. For Study 1, participants were 409 individuals (53% female), with a mean age of 34.5 years. For Study 2, participants were 92 individuals (67% female) with a mean age of 28.6. Participants answered paper-and-pencil questions about their attitudes toward vaccines, prior and expected-future vaccination behaviors, perceived sensitivity to medicines, online behavior, and basic demographic information. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted with correlations and t tests then used to assess the scale’s reliability and validity. ResultsFour distinct but correlated vaccine attitudes were identified: (1) mistrust of vaccine benefit, (2) worries about unforeseen future effects, (3) concerns about commercial profiteering, and (4) preference for natural immunity. These factors were significantly related to prior vaccination behavior, future intentions to obtain recommended vaccinations, perceived sensitivity to medicines, and the tendency to obtain health information online. Conclusions The VAX scale provides an efficient method for identifying those with vaccination resistance, and the four subscales enable a more nuanced understanding of the nature of those views. It should be noted, however, that the strong correlations amongst the four subscales suggest that interventions should target all four attitude areas, and it remains to be seen whether differential emphasis across the four areas is warranted.
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Clinicians face the complex challenge of motivating their patients to achieve optimal health while also ensuring their satisfaction. Inspired by transformational leadership theory, we proposed that clinicians’ motivational behaviors can be organized into three patient care styles (transformational, transactional, and passive-avoidant) and that these styles differentially predict patient health outcomes. In two studies using patient-reported data and observer ratings, we found that transformational patient care style positively predicted patients’ satisfaction and health expectations above and beyond transactional and passive-avoidant patient care style. These findings provide initial support for the patient care style approach and suggest novel directions for the study of clinicians’ motivational behaviors.