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Science Curiosity and Political Information Processing

What Is the "Science of Science Communication"?

Climate-Science Communication and the Measurement Problem

Ideology, Motivated Cognition, and Cognitive Reflection: An Experimental Study

'Ideology' or 'Situation Sense'? An Experimental Investigation of Motivated Reasoning and Professional Judgment

A Risky Science Communication Environment for Vaccines

Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government

Making Climate Science Communication Evidence-based—All the Way Down 

Neutral Principles, Motivated Cognition, and Some Problems for Constitutional Law 

Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus
 

The Tragedy of the Risk-Perception Commons: Science Literacy and Climate Change

"They Saw a Protest": Cognitive Illiberalism and the Speech-Conduct Distinction 

Geoengineering and the Science Communication Environment: a Cross-Cultural Experiment

Fixing the Communications Failure

Why We Are Poles Apart on Climate Change

The Cognitively Illiberal State 

Who Fears the HPV Vaccine, Who Doesn't, and Why? An Experimental Study

Cultural Cognition of the Risks and Benefits of Nanotechnology

Whose Eyes Are You Going to Believe? An Empirical Examination of Scott v. Harris

Cultural Cognition and Public Policy

Culture, Cognition, and Consent: Who Perceives What, and Why, in "Acquaintance Rape" Cases

Culture and Identity-Protective Cognition: Explaining the White Male Effect

Fear of Democracy: A Cultural Evaluation of Sunstein on Risk

Cultural Cognition as a Conception of the Cultural Theory of Risk

Wednesday
Aug272008

Culture and Identity-Protective Cognition: Explaining the White Male Effect

The "white male effect" refers to the until-now unexplained tendency of white males to fear all manner of risk less than women and minorities. Published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, this paper reports the results of an empirical study finding that that "the white male effect" derives from the tendency of individuals to form risk perceptions protective of identities they enjoy by virtue of cultural norms that feature race- and gender-differentiation in roles relating to putatively dangerous activities.

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Friday
Aug082008

Two Conceptions of Emotion in Risk Regulation

Do emotions interfere with the rational evaluation of risk? Or is the rational evaluation of risk impossible without the aid of emotion? Drawing on data collected by the Cultural Cognition Project, this paper (published in the University of Pennslyvania Law Review ) suggests a revisionist interpretation of recent studies on the centrality of emotion to risk perception.

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Friday
Aug082008

Cultural Cognition as a Conception of the Cultural Theory of Risk

The cultural cognition of risk grows out of the "cultural theory of risk" associated with Mary Douglas and Aaron Wildvasky. This paper identifies the conceptual, methodological, and practical features of cultural cognition that distinguish it from other approaches for testing Douglas and Wildavsky's influential claims about risk perception.

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Tuesday
Jul152008

The Cognitively Illiberal State

Liberalism obliges the state to refrain from endorsement of a cultural orthodoxy and instead to base law on secular interests like harm prevention. But is this possible if lawmakers' perceptions of harm derive from their cultural values? (published in the Stanford Law Review)

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Wednesday
Jun112008

Cultural Cognition and Public Policy: The Case of Outpatient Commitment Laws

Oupatient commitment laws (OCLs) are highly controversial provisions that permit courts to order persons who are mentally ill to comply with specified outpatient-treatment regimens or face involuntary confinement. A CCP study, forthcoming in Law and Human Behavior , found that political conflict over OCLs reflects the influence of cultural values on citizens' perceptions of the impact of these laws on public health and safety.

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Tuesday
Mar252008

"Ideology in" vs. "Cultural Cognition of" Law: What Difference Does It Make?

Many recent studies suggest that "ideology" predicts judicial decisionmaking. But the evidence is as consistent with cultural cognition.

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Wednesday
Feb062008

The Future of Nanotechnology Risk Perceptions: An Experimental Investigation

How will Americans react as they learn more about this novel science? Will popular attitudes be guided by the best available scientific evidence? Or will other influences affect public perceptions of nanotechnology risks This paper reports the result of an experimental investigation of these questions.

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Monday
Feb042008

Cultural Credibility and Nanotechnology Risk Perceptions

How individuals process information on nanotechnology risks is critically dependent on the perceived cultural values of the information source. The impact of this "cultural credibility heuristic," experimental data show, can either accentuate or mitigate cultural polarization with respect to nanotechnology risk perceptions.

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Saturday
Jan052008

Risk and Culture: Is Synthetic Biology Different?

A CCP study finds that this novel technology generates a novel risk-perception profile.

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Sunday
Nov042007

Cultural Cognition and Synthetic Biology Risk Perceptions: A Preliminary Analysis

A national study conducted by CCP researchers finds that synthetic biology risk perceptions have a distinctive profile, one that turns cultural, political, and religious commitments nearly upside down.

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Monday
Oct012007

Legal Realism as Psychological and Cultural (not Political) Realism

How do legal actors know what the relevant facts and law are in any given case? The answer, we argue, is that they know in the same way that ordinary citizens know. When deliberating about what dangers are real and which are specious, and about which policies are efficacious and which are futile or even self-defeating, ordinary folk will rarely have direct access to the answers themselves. Instead, they must make decisions about what information and which sources warrant their trust. They must judge whether the stories in which the information is embedded are plausible and consistent with one another. They must consider which norms are relevant, given the facts as they know them. And all the empirical evidence we have suggests they will do all of this through interlocking social and cognitive mechanisms that cause them to rely on a culturally contingent situation sense, an implicit knowledge of how the material and social world works and who can be trusted to report it accurately.

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Wednesday
Sep262007

Making Sense of, and Progress in, the American Culture War of Fact

Survey and experimental data show not only that Americans are culturally polarized on a wide range of risk and policy issues, but also why and what might be done to change this situation.

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Tuesday
Sep112007

Cultural Cognition of the Risks and Benefits of Nanotechnology

An experiment conducted by CCP researchers and published in Nature Nanotechnology shows that individuals' cultural predispositions guide their search for, and interpretation of, information on the risks and benefits of nanotechnology.

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Saturday
Sep082007

The Self-Defensive Cognition of Self-Defense

An experimental study conducted by the Cultural Cognition Project identifies how individuals' values shape their views of the facts in cases involving battered women and other persons whose resort to lethal self-defense provokes public controversy (published in the American Criminal Law Review).

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Monday
Jun252007

Beyond the Gun Fight: The Aftermath of the Virginia Tech Massacre

Will the Virginia Tech massacre generate a shift in public opinion on gun control? The phenomenon of cultural cognition suggests the answer is "no."

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Wednesday
Mar072007

Affect, Values, and Nanotechnology Risk Perceptions

Individuals' initial limpressions of nanotechnology are affect driven. As they learn more, their positions polaraize along cultural lines. This is what the Cultural Cognition Project found in an experimental study, the results of which are reported and analyzed in this paper.

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Wednesday
Oct112006

Fear of Democracy: A Cultural Evaluation of Sunstein on Risk

Like other accounts that rest on the "irrational weigher model" of risk perception, the position advanced by Cass Sunstein, Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle (2005), ignores the impact of cultural worldviews. Based on the results of the National Risk & Culture Survey, this paper (published in the Harvard Law Review<) presents an alternative "cultural evaluator" model that better explains disagreements over risk and that generates more defensible prescriptions for how to reconcile rational risk regulation with democratic deliberation.

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Saturday
Apr012006

Ending Polarization: The Good News About the Culture Wars

Differences in cultural outlooks divide Americans politically not because culture endows Americans with different ends but because culture influences how Americans evaluate the efficacy of alternative means for achieving collective prosperity and security. Moreover, the tendency of culture to interfere with common apprehension of mutually advantageous policies can be neutralized through various devices, including deliberation.

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Sunday
Mar262006

Cultural Evaluations of Risk: "Values" or "Blunders"?

Should regulators view risk perceptions that derive from cultural cognition as manifestations of cognitive bias or instead as expressions of value? Kahan & Slovic take up this question in response to Sunstein's critique of cultural cognition.

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Friday
Oct282005

The "Wildavsky Heuristic": The Cultural Orientation of Mass Political Opinion

Cultural worldviews determine political attitudes, not because ordinary citizens are moral zealots but because they are cognitive misers who naturally rely on cultural cues to orient their policy positions.

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