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Cultural Cognition as a Conception of the Cultural Theory of Risk


Dan M. Kahan


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

April 21, 2008

HANDBOOK OF RISK THEORY, S. Roeser, ed., Forthcoming
Harvard Law School Program on Risk Regulation Research Paper No. 08-20
Yale Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 222

Abstract:     
Cultural cognition refers to the tendency of individuals to form beliefs about societal dangers that reflect and reinforce their commitments to particular visions of the ideal society. Cultural cognition is one of a variety of approaches designed to empirically test the cultural theory of risk associated with Mary Douglas and Aaron Wildavsky. This commentary discusses the distinctive features of cultural cognition as a conception of cultural theory, including its cultural worldview measures; its emphasis on social psychological mechanisms that connect individuals' risk perceptions to their cultural outlooks; and its practical goal of enabling self-conscious management of popular risk perceptions in the interest of promoting scientifically sound public policies that are congenial to persons of diverse outlooks.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 47

Keywords: cultural cognition, risk perception, culture theory

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Date posted: April 23, 2008 ; Last revised: April 16, 2013

Suggested Citation

Kahan, Dan M., Cultural Cognition as a Conception of the Cultural Theory of Risk (April 21, 2008). HANDBOOK OF RISK THEORY, S. Roeser, ed., Forthcoming; Harvard Law School Program on Risk Regulation Research Paper No. 08-20; Yale Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 222. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1123807

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

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