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Taboo Beliefs Test

In the peer-reviewed scientific article Taboos and Self-Censorship Among U.S. Psychology Professors, authored by Cory J. Clark from the University of Pennsylvania and associates, the authors identify 10 major taboo beliefs of our time. A taboo belief is defined as a controversial view that is associated with a perceived personal risk to speak up about. The authors hope that by identifying real scientific and normative disagreements among researchers, they can foster a shared understanding of the diversity of perspectives among scientists and, by extension, the voting public.

Do you have taboo beliefs? To take the test, enter your input below.

Question 1 of 10

Transgender identity is sometimes the product of social influence.

Disagree
Agree

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The Taboo Beliefs Test was created on the basis of the scientific, peer-reviewed article Taboos and Self-Censorship Among U.S. Psychology Professors by Cory J. Clark from the University of Pennsylvania and associates.

All taboo belief statements used in this test were extracted from the scientific article Taboos and Self-Censorship Among U.S. Psychology Professors by Cory J. Clark from the University of Pennsylvania and associates. For the purposes of this test, a taboo belief is defined as a controversial view that is associated with a perceived personal risk to speak up about (this is not the case for all items on the test).

Disagreements and debates in science can be productive, especially when participants use data to support their arguments. However, many scientific conflicts involve normative questions about policy and procedures, where scholars hold irreconcilable values. The cited article documents both empirical and normative disagreements among a sample of U.S. psychology professors. While these data do not resolve the identified conflicts, they may help foster a shared understanding of the diversity and distribution of perspectives among psychological scientists and, by extension, the voting public.

The article used as the basis of this test is: Clark, C. J., Fjeldmark, M., Lu, L., Baumeister, R. F., Ceci, S., Frey, K., Miller, G., Reilly, W., Tice, D., von Hippel, W., Williams, W. M., Winegard, B. M., & Tetlock, P. E. (2024). Taboos and Self-Censorship Among U.S. Psychology Professors. Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Scientific taboos represent topics or areas of inquiry that are considered off-limits or controversial within the scientific community. These taboos can stem from ethical concerns, cultural sensitivities, political pressures, or the potential for social harm. While science is fundamentally a quest for knowledge, these taboos reflect the complex interplay between scientific freedom and societal values.

One prominent example of scientific taboo is research involving human cloning. Despite advances in genetic engineering and reproductive technologies, human cloning remains largely prohibited due to ethical concerns about identity, individuality, and the potential for exploitation. The fear of eugenics and the historical misuse of genetic research add to the contentious nature of this topic.

Another area is the study of race and intelligence. Research in this field is fraught with ethical and methodological challenges. The history of pseudoscience and racism has led to a widespread consensus that such research is not only scientifically dubious but also socially harmful. Many fear that exploring these questions could reinforce stereotypes and justify discrimination.

Environmental science also faces taboos, particularly regarding the discussion of population control. While overpopulation is acknowledged as a critical issue for sustainability, suggesting policies that control population growth can be highly controversial. The ethical implications and historical abuses related to forced sterilizations and coercive measures make this a highly sensitive topic.

Even within the field of medicine, topics like the use of psychoactive drugs for mental health treatment have been taboo. Although recent research has shown the potential benefits of substances like psilocybin and MDMA in treating conditions such as PTSD and depression, societal stigma and legal restrictions have long hindered scientific exploration.

In conclusion, scientific taboos highlight the tension between the pursuit of knowledge and the ethical, cultural, and political landscapes in which science operates. Navigating these taboos requires a careful balance of curiosity and responsibility, ensuring that scientific progress does not come at the cost of ethical integrity and societal well-being.

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Why Use This Test?

1. Free. This test is provided to you free of charge and allows you to obtain your scores related to forbidden beliefs.

2. Statistical controls. Test scores are logged into an anonymized database. Statistical analysis of the test is conducted to ensure maximum accuracy and validity of the test scores.

3. Made by professionals. The present test has been made with the input of people who work professionally in psychology and individual differences research.