Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1090044
 
 

References (12)



 
 

Citations (2)



 


 



Biased Assimilation, Polarization, and Cultural Credibility: An Experimental Study of Nanotechnology Risk Perceptions


Dan M. Kahan


Yale University - Law School; Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics

Paul Slovic


Decision Research; University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

Donald Braman


George Washington University - Law School; Cultural Cognition Project

John Gastil


Pennsylvania State University

Geoffrey L. Cohen


University of Colorado - Department of Psychology

Douglas A. Kysar


Yale University - Law School

February 4, 2008

Harvard Law School Program on Risk Regulation Research Paper No. 08-25

Abstract:     
We present the results from the second in a series of ongoing experimental studies of public perceptions of nanotechnology risks. Like the first study, the current one found that members of the public, most of whom know little or nothing about nanotechnology, polarize along cultural lines when exposed to information about it. Extending previous results, the current study also found that cultural polarization of this sort interacts with the perceived cultural identities of policy advocates. Polarization along expected lines grew even more extreme when subjects of diverse cultural outlooks observed an advocate whose values they share advancing an argument they were predisposed to accept, and an advocate whose values they reject advancing an argument they were predisposed to resist. But when those same advocates were assigned the opposite positions, subjects formed perceptions of nanotechnology risks diametrically opposed to the ones normally associated with their own cultural predispositions. Finally, when there was no consistent relationship between the perceived values of advocates and positions taken on nanotechnology risk and benefits, cultural polarization was neutralized. The significance of these findings for promotion of informed public understanding of nanotechnology is discussed.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 23

Keywords: nanotechnology, cultural cognition, risk perception, cultural credibility heuristic, polarization, biased assimilation

working papers series


Download This Paper

Date posted: February 5, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Kahan, Dan M. and Slovic, Paul and Braman, Donald and Gastil, John and Cohen, Geoffrey L. and Kysar, Douglas A., Biased Assimilation, Polarization, and Cultural Credibility: An Experimental Study of Nanotechnology Risk Perceptions (February 4, 2008). Harvard Law School Program on Risk Regulation Research Paper No. 08-25. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1090044 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1090044

Contact Information

Dan M. Kahan (Contact Author)
Yale University - Law School ( email )
P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.culturalcognition.net/kahan
Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics ( email )
124 Mount Auburn Street
Suite 520N
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Paul Slovic
Decision Research ( email )
1201 Oak Street, Suite 200
Eugene, OR 97401
United States
541-485-2400 (Phone)
541-485-2403 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.decisionresearch.org
University of Oregon - Department of Psychology ( email )
Eugene, OR 97403
United States
541-485-2400 (Phone)
Donald Braman
George Washington University - Law School ( email )
2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
Cultural Cognition Project ( email )
2000 H St NW
2000 H Street
Washington, DC 20052 20052
United States
202-491-8843 (Phone)
202 491-8843 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.culturalcognition.net/braman
John Gastil
Pennsylvania State University ( email )
University Park, PA 16802
United States
Geoffrey L. Cohen
University of Colorado - Department of Psychology ( email )
1070 Edinboro Drive
Boulder, CO 80309
United States
HOME PAGE: http://psych.colorado.edu/~social/faculty.html
Douglas A. Kysar
Yale University - Law School ( email )
P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 2,841
Downloads: 524
Download Rank: 28,169
References:  12
Citations:  2
Paper comments
No comments have been made on this paper

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo4 in 0.328 seconds