Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1549444
 
 

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Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus


Dan M. Kahan


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

Hank Jenkins-Smith


University of Oklahoma

Donald Braman


George Washington University - Law School; Cultural Cognition Project

February 7, 2010

Journal of Risk Research, Vol. 14, pp. 147-74, 2011
Yale Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 205

Abstract:     
Why do members of the public disagree - sharply and persistently - about facts on which expert scientists largely agree? We designed a study to test a distinctive explanation: the cultural cognition of scientific consensus. The "cultural cognition of risk" refers to the tendency of individuals to form risk perceptions that are congenial to their values. The study presents both correlational and experimental evidence confirming that cultural cognition shapes individuals' beliefs about the existence of scientific consensus, and the process by which they form such beliefs, relating to climate change, the disposal of nuclear wastes, and the effect of permitting concealed possession of handguns. The implications of this dynamic for science communication and public policy-making are discussed.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

Keywords: Cultural Cognition, Climate Change, Gun Control, Nuclear Power, Risk, Public Opinion

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Date posted: February 8, 2010 ; Last revised: April 16, 2013

Suggested Citation

Kahan, Dan M. and Jenkins-Smith, Hank and Braman, Donald, Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus (February 7, 2010). Journal of Risk Research, Vol. 14, pp. 147-74, 2011; Yale Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 205. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1549444 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1549444

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

Hank Jenkins-Smith
University of Oklahoma ( email )
307 W Brooks
Norman, OK 73019
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
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