Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1347165
 
 

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Risk and Culture: Is Synthetic Biology Different?


Dan M. Kahan


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

Donald Braman


George Washington University - Law School; Cultural Cognition Project

Gregory N. Mandel


Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

February 20, 2009

Harvard Law School Program on Risk Regulation Research Paper No. 09-2
Yale Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 190

Abstract:     
Cultural cognition refers to the influence that individuals' values have on their perceptions of technological risk. We conducted a study to assess the cultural cognition of synthetic biology risks. Examining the attitudes of a large and diverse sample of Americans (N = 1,500), we found that hierarchical, conservative, and highly religious individuals - persons who normally are most skeptical of claims of environmental risks (including those relating to nuclear power and global warming) - are the persons most concerned about synthetic biology risks. We attribute this inversion of the normal cultural profile of risk perceptions to the seemingly anti-religious connotations of synthetic biology. We discuss implications of this finding for future study and for risk communication.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

Keywords: cultural cognition, risk perception, synthetic biology

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Date posted: February 21, 2009 ; Last revised: February 17, 2014

Suggested Citation

Kahan, Dan M. and Braman, Donald and Mandel, Gregory N., Risk and Culture: Is Synthetic Biology Different? (February 20, 2009). Harvard Law School Program on Risk Regulation Research Paper No. 09-2; Yale Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 190. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1347165 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1347165

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

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
Gregory Mandel
Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )
1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
(215) 204-2381 (Phone)
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