Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1981907
 
 

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Geoengineering and Climate Change Polarization: Testing a Two-channel Model of Science Communication


Dan M. Kahan


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

Hank C. Jenkins-Smith


University of Oklahoma - Department of Political Science

Tor Tarantola


University of Cambridge - Department of Psychology; Cultural Cognition Project, Yale Law School

Carol L Silva


University of Oklahoma - Main - Department of Political Science

Donald Braman


George Washington University - Law School; Cultural Cognition Project

January 9, 2012

Annals of American Academy of Political & Social Sci. (2014, Forthcoming)

Abstract:     
We conducted a two-nation study (United States, n = 1500; England, n = 1500) to test a novel theory of science communication. The cultural cognition thesis posits that individuals make extensive reliance on cultural meanings in forming perceptions of risk. The logic of the cultural cognition thesis suggests the potential value of a distinctive two-channel science communication strategy that combines information content (“Channel 1”) with cultural meanings (“Channel 2”) selected to promote open-minded assessment of information across diverse communities. In the study, scientific information content on climate change was held constant while the cultural meaning of that information was experimentally manipulated. Consistent with the study hypotheses, we found that making citizens aware of the potential contribution of geoengineering as a supplement to restriction of CO2 emissions helps to offset cultural polarization over the validity of climate-change science. We also tested the hypothesis, derived from competing models of science communication, that exposure to information on geoengineering would provoke discounting of climate-change risks generally. Contrary to this hypothesis, we found that subjects exposed to information about geoengineering were slightly more concerned about climate change risks than those assigned to a control condition.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 41

Keywords: climate change, geoengineering, cultural cognition, risk perception

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Date posted: January 9, 2012 ; Last revised: February 23, 2014

Suggested Citation

Kahan, Dan M. and Jenkins-Smith, Hank C. and Tarantola, Tor and Silva, Carol L and Braman, Donald, Geoengineering and Climate Change Polarization: Testing a Two-channel Model of Science Communication (January 9, 2012). Annals of American Academy of Political & Social Sci. (2014, Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1981907 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1981907

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 C. Jenkins-Smith
University of Oklahoma - Department of Political Science ( email )
307 W Brooks
Norman, OK 73019
United States
Tor Tarantola
University of Cambridge - Department of Psychology ( email )
Downing St.
Cambridge, CB2 3EB
United Kingdom
Cultural Cognition Project, Yale Law School ( email )
United States
Carol L Silva
University of Oklahoma - Main - Department of Political Science ( 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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