Autism and Scientific Beliefs

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In what ways does the media we consume influence our scientific beliefs?

In the Ideas Roadshow TOK Clip called Autism and Vaccines, UCL developmental psychologist Uta Frith describes how the hypothesis that childhood vaccines are linked to autism, while initially plausible, was subjected to rigorous scientific testing and found to be false.

We’ve developed seven Knowledge Questions directly related to this clip, below are three of those:

  1. How do emotions influence our belief in the validity of scientific explanations?
  2. Under what circumstances can we distinguish between environmental or genetic causes of a particular phenomenon?
  3. At what point can we justifiably conclude that a hypothesis accounting for the development of a specific psychological condition is invalid?

Below is a screen shot of what the resource page for this TOK clip looks like on Ideas Roadshow’s IBDP Portal. The new PDF that comes with this clip highlights how this resource has been updated to be fully aligned with the new TOK curriculum: the related AOKs, how it directly connects to the new Knowledge Framework – Scope, Perspectives, Methods and Tools and Ethics – in the form of a Knowledge Question, three additional sample Knowledge Questions, related IA prompts for the TOK exhibition and citing suggestions for the TOK exhibition and essay.

If your school does not have an institutional subscription to Ideas Roadshow’s IBDP Portal yet or if you are interested in an individual teacher or student subscription, make sure to visit our informational website – – to learn how Ideas Roadshow’s TOK resources have been fully updated to be fully aligned with the new TOK curriculum while offering strong support during the transition period for the ‘old’ TOK course.

All Ideas Roadshow’s TOK resources are digital – they can be seamlessly used for online or in-class teaching without the need to change your lesson plans!