Real Science or Pseudoscience: Do you know the difference? Take the quiz!


Psychic healing. Alien abduction. These phenomena, among others, are considered pseudoscience by the traditional scientific community. Do you know what constitutes pseudoscience? Take this quiz to determine your knowledge of this controversial topic.

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Question 1 of 20

According to the scientific community, what characterizes "pseudoscience?"

absence of rigorous testing
assertion that it is scientific
lack of supporting evidence
all of the above

... Pseudoscience purports to be real science but lacks the thorough testing and significant evidence that supports true science.


Question 2 of 20

A 2001 Gallup poll on psychic and paranormal phenomena found that belief in one phenomenon was dropping. Which one?

demonic possession
psychic healing

... Belief in demonic possession was the only one that dropped, from 49 percent in 1990 to 41 percent a decade later. Belief in ghosts, psychic healing and witches all increased more than five percentage points.


Question 3 of 20

In the mid-1960s, Cleve Backster concluded that plants can communicate with other life forms after he attached his plant to ___________.

an eeg machine
a lie detector
a microphone
a speaker system

... Cleve Backster, a specialist in lie detectors, hooked his office plant up to a machine to see if he could measure water dispersal through the leaves. After conducting this and other experiments, he believed that plants could communicate.


Question 4 of 20

After organizing a five-day conference at MIT concerning alien abduction, Harvard psychiatrist John Edward Mack was awarded _________.

an Ig Noble prize
a Nobel prize
a Pulitzer prize
a TED prize

... Mack had previously earned a Pulitzer for his biography of T. E. Lawrence, but the abduction conference secured him the parody of the Nobel Prize in 1993. The prizes are awarded annually by the "Annals of Improbable Research," a humor magazine honoring studies that "first make people laugh, then make them think."


Question 5 of 20

Proponents of biorhythms believe their lives are affected by three biological cycles: _________.

financial, love, spiritual
intellectual, emotional, physical
success, failure, enlightenment
spirit, brain, passion

... Biorhythm charts are created for an individual's physical, emotional and intellectual cycles and are used to guide behavior.


Question 6 of 20

During the 1950s, Michael Gauquelin, a French statistician, claimed to have found evidence for the "Mars effect," which supports the use of astrological charts for predicting successful __________.


... Gauquelin believed the Mars effect was seen in the star charts of winning athletes.


Question 7 of 20

Practitioners of applied kinesiology (AK) diagnose illnesses and determine treatment through __________.

aura testing
muscle testing
saliva testing
skin testing

... Practitioners of AK believe that weaknesses in specific muscles signal organ problems.


Question 8 of 20

During iridology, irises are examined for changes, patterns and irregularities. The process has no scientific support because _________.

irises are too changeable to monitor successfully
irises seldom change during life
irises are virtually identical in humans
iridology has not been scientifically tested

... Although iris color may change during the first year of life, there are seldom any other variations. This stability is used in the field of biometrics; individuals are identified by iris recognition.


Question 9 of 20

"Orgone accumulators," developed by psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, supposedly improved health by ____________.

amassing positive energy derived from other people
redistributing healthy blood throughout the body
collecting life energy from the atmosphere
gathering magnetic energy from the earth

... Beginning in the 1930s, Reich proposed the idea of "orgone," a universal life force. Orgone accumulators were purported to gather orgone and introduce it into the body, improving health.


Question 10 of 20

England's Blickling Hall is supposedly haunted by ___________.

Anne Boleyn
Guy Fawkes
Oliver Cromwell
Queen Victoria

... It is said that on the anniversary of her execution, the headless ghost of Anne Boleyn arrives at the hall in a carriage.


Question 11 of 20

The first scientific experiments on ESP, conducted by J.B. Rhine at Duke University, began as a scientific investigation of __________.

life after death
mind reading

... Researchers wanted to explore the possibility of life after death, so Rhine was looking for something that existed outside the human body.


Question 12 of 20

One branch of anthrometry, the measurement of humans, attempted to determine __________.

criminal characteristics
criteria for success
human frailties

... Although today anthrometry is used in such areas as clothing design and architecture, some researchers of anthrometry believed that criminals had specific physical characteristics. For instance, robbers and murderers are taller than thieves and forgers; thieves have small eyes and heavy eyebrows; and multiple murderers have large noses, strong jaws and broad cheekbones.


Question 13 of 20

According to a 2001 National Science Foundation survey, what percentage of Americans believe in ESP?

5 percent
15 percent
30 percent
60 percent

... Sixty percent of respondents stated their belief in extra sensory perception.


Question 14 of 20

Yogic flying is an extension of _______.

Hatha yoga
Transcendental Meditation
Zen Meditation

... Yogic flying comes out of the Transcendental Meditation tradition. Believers declare that through meditation they can hop like a frog and, eventually, fly progressively longer distances.


Question 15 of 20

The basic principle of homeopathy is _________.

exceptions prove the rule
like cures like
opposites attract

... During the late 18th century, German physician Samuel Hahnemann developed homeopathy. He believed that illnesses could be treated by highly diluted substances that cause similar symptoms if given in large doses to healthy individuals. Hahnemann first experimented by ingesting Peruvian bark, a treatment for malaria. He developed symptoms similar to the disease (fever, sleepiness, thirst).


Question 16 of 20

A 1998 research article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association discredited Therapeutic Touch (TT) and was co-authored by ________.

a child
a former TT believer
a naturopath
The Amazing Randi

... Nine-year-old Emily Rosa began the project for her school science fair. It was expanded upon, and she became the youngest person to be published in the JAMA.


Question 17 of 20

During Rolfing treatment, the practitioner focuses on the patient's ________.

skeletal system
nerve endings

... Rolfing purportedly concentrates on the fascia (muscles' connective tissue), unbinding it and helping muscles move cooperatively.


Question 18 of 20

During a Reiki treatment, a practitioner attempts to transfer energy to the patient via _______.

a higher power
the senses

... Reiki energy supposedly flows through the practitioner's hands into the recipient's hands, feet, shoulders, head or other body part.


Question 19 of 20

Many types of treatment compose naturopathy. Which is NOT in the field of naturopathy?

abdominal etching
hair analysis
live blood therapy

... Abdominal etching is a plastic surgery procedure, not a type of naturopathy.


Question 20 of 20

The concept of "cellular memory" proposes that physical, mental and emotional information is stored within each cell and contains information about ______.

all of the above

... According to the cellular memory theory, an individual's personal and genetic history and that of past generations is stored in each cell.


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