FSD3260 Understanding People and Understanding Things 2013 and 2015

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  • Lindeman, Marjaana (University of Helsinki. Department of Psychology and Logopedics)
  • Svedholm-Häkkinen, Annika (University of Helsinki. Department of Psychology and Logopedics)
  • Riekki, Tapani (University of Helsinki. Department of Psychology and Logopedics)


beliefs, cognitive processes, emotional states, knowledge (awareness), magic, perception, personality, personality traits, problem solving, reasoning, social behaviour, social interaction, supernatural


The psychological follow-up study charted beliefs, thinking and reasoning. It surveyed, among others, the respondents' capacity for compassion, social skills, vaccine attitudes, and faulty reasoning (e.g. assigning spiritual traits to things that are not generally seen as having such traits). The dataset also contains the participants' responses to a previous study (FSD3259 Understanding People and Understanding Things 2013) to enable combining the responses to both studies. Some of the batteries of questions included standardised measures and some were developed by the researchers. The data were collected as part of a project funded by the Academy of Finland (project number 266573) examining reasoning skills, intuitive skills in psychology and physics and the relationship of these skills with supernatural beliefs. Below is a description of the content and themes of the data collected in 2015. See the data description of FSD3259 for detailed information on the data collected in 2013.

The respondents' empathy was charted using the Basic Empathy Scale in Adults and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index. Insight was measured with the help of Beck Cognitive Insight Scale. A modified Epistemic Understanding Questionnaire was used to examine views of knowing and knowledge.

The respondents were asked how often they acted tactlessly (e.g. were late for appointments, used their phone a lot in company, jumped queues) and whether acting that way would make them feel they were doing wrong. They were also asked whether they would describe certain words as being "spiritual" or "non-spiritual". Several statements were presented to gauge opinions on vaccination and its effects. A few test statements were presented to see whether the respondents read the instructions carefully. Finally, the respondents were asked whether they suspected they had Asperger's syndrome or autism and whether they had been diagnosed with either.

Background variables included, among others, age, gender, religious denomination, handedness, education, economic activity, place of study, and field of study or work.

Study description in machine readable DDI 2.0 format

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