Sunday, May 4, 2008

"The American Culture War of Fact"... another installment of the Risk and Culture Study

Here's the abstract for what sounds like a stimulating paper: Cultural Cognition refers to the disposition to conform one's beliefs about societal risks to one's preferences for how society should be organized. Based on surveys and experiments involving some 5,000 Americans, the Second National Risk and Culture Study presents empirical evidence of the effect of this dynamic in generating conflict about global warming, school shootings, domestic terrorism, nanotechnology, and the mandatory vaccination of school-age girls against HPV, among other issues.

The Study also presents evidence of risk-communication strategies that counteract cultural cognition. Because nuclear power affirms rather than threatens the identity of persons who hold individualist values, for example, proposing it as a solution to global warming makes persons who hold such values more willing to consider evidence that climate change is a serious risk. Because people tend to impute credibility to people who share their values, persons who hold hierarchical and egalitarian values are less likely to polarize when they observe people who hold their values advocating unexpected positions on the vaccination of young girls against HPV. Such techniques can help society to create a deliberative climate in which citizens converge on policies that are both instrumentally sound and expressively congenial to persons of diverse values.

"Risk of falling" sign by Torsten Henning, Wikimedia Commons

1 comment:

Vaughan Pratt said...

I found the Cultural Cognition group's studies very helpful in my own understanding of the division between the deniers and the alarmists in the CO2 debate. (I say "CO2" rather than "global warming" because besides its impact on surface temperature CO2 acidifies the ocean, which has nothing to do with temperature.)

I've therefore started an Amazon discussion group starting from the Cultural Cognition group's premises, which can be seen from the easily remembered URL . The last part of this URL consists of the first four words of the topic, "Why do so many say that CO2 presents no threat, and who are they?"

I'm hoping there will be no further discussion, which should establish that no one disputes what I wrote in my initial post to that discussion.