Year in review for CCP research, including the conservation-of-perplexity principle
Thursday, December 29, 2016 at 4:54AM
Dan Kahan

The -est CCP research findings of the year . . .

1. Saddest: et tu, AOT? As is so for CRT, Numeracy, Ordinary Science Intelligence, etc., higher scores on the Actively Open-minded Thinking assessment are associated with more polarization on climate change.

2. Happiest: Do you like to be surprised?  Like a pot that is too shy to boil when being observed, some research findings reveal themselves only when one wasn’t even looking for them.  Add to that category the finding that science curiosity turns out to predict a disposition to expose oneself to surprising pieces of information that are contrary to one’s political predispositions, thereby mitigating polarization. Cool. 


3. Weirdest: Easily disgusted partisans apparently converge on highly contested issues like climate change and illegal immigration.  Just as energy can neither be created nor destroyed, perplexity is always conserved in empirical research: if you make any progress in trying to understand one mystery, you can be confident your efforts will reveal at least one additional thing that defies ready understanding and that begs for further investigation.  So here is one new thing I really don’t get!

Article originally appeared on cultural cognition project (
See website for complete article licensing information.