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