April 9, 2012

Cultural Cognition Project

Green Army: Research and Development




Dan Kahan:
[If] the problem is that culture is preventing you from appreciating what the best scientific information is, maybe we can do something about that. …
There are techniques we can use and those techniques are not substitutes for rational thought, THEY ARE RATIONAL THOUGHT.
There's no system of human rationality where people can figure out things for themselves without being able reliably to receive information certified by other people that they ought to trust, that they can rely on, even all scientists do it.
So why can't we get our system in a state like that, so … people can [become] participants …

Contents


Local (Mal)Adaptation

Empirical evidence that liberals misconstrue empirical evidence to suit their ideology

Do more educated people see more risk — or less — in climate change?

Cultural Cognition of Risk Perception
Would you like to know more?


CULTURAL COGNITION PROJECT


Dan Kahan: Elizabeth K Dollard Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology, Yale Law School.
Eli Goldston Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School.

  • Making Climate-Science Communication Evidence-based — All the Way Down, unpublished.

    Local Adaptation


    A bill passed by Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature in 2011 and signed into law by its tea-party Governor has initiated city and county-level proceedings to formulate measures for protecting the state from the impact of projected sea-level rises, which are expected to be aggravated by the increased incidence of hurricanes.
    Arizona is the site of similar initiatives.
    Overseen by that state’s conservative Governor (who once punched a reporter for asking her whether she believed in global warming) the Arizona proceedings are aimed at anticipating expected stresses on regional water supplies.

    Climate science [—] supplied by expert governmental and academic sources — is playing a key role in the deliberations of both states.
    Florida officials, for example, have insisted that new nuclear power generation facilities being constructed offshore at Turkey Point be raised to a level higher than contemplated by the original design in order to reflect new sea-level rise and storm-activity projections associated with climate change.
    The basis of these Florida officials’ projections are the same scientific models that Florida Senator Marco Rubio, now considered a likely 2016 presidential candidate, says he still finds insufficiently convincing to justify national regulation of carbon emissions.
    (p 14)

    The influences that trigger cultural cognition when climate change is addressed at the national level are much weaker at the local one.
    When they are considering adaptation, citizens engage the issue of climate change not as members of warring cultural factions but as
    • property owners,
    • resource consumers,
    • insurance policy holders, and
    • tax payers
    — identities they all share.
    The people who are furnishing them with [relevant] scientific evidence about the risks they face and how to abate them are not [perceived as] the national representatives of competing political brands but rather their municipal representatives, their neighbors, and even their local utility companies.
    What’s more, the sorts of issues they are addressing —
    • damage to property and infrastructure from flooding,
    • reduced access to scarce water supplies,
    • diminished farming yields as a result of drought
    — are matters they deal with all the time.
    They are the issues they have always dealt with as members of the regions in which they live …
    [They] have a natural shared vocabulary for thinking and talking about these issues, the use of which reinforces their sense of linked fate and [the sense that] they are working with [people with whom they share a common worldview.]
    Because they are, [so to speak, all on the same team / belong to the same tribe,] citizens at the local level are less likely to react to scientific evidence in defensive, partisan way …

    Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to assume that local engagement with adaptation is impervious to polarizing forms of motivated reasoning. …
    [In North Carolina] the state legislature enacted a law that restricts use of anything but “historical data” on sea-level in state planning. …
    Polarizing forms of engagement have bogged down municipal planning in some parts of Florida — at the same time as progress is being made elsewhere in the state.
    (p 15)

  • Empirical evidence that liberals misconstrue empirical evidence to suit their ideology, 24 March, 2012.

    [Some researchers] hypothesize that motivated reasoning is more strongly associated with conservatism than with liberalism [but] I am not persuaded …
    [Existing studies have established] convincingly that there is a tendency toward biased assessments of empirical evidence across the ideological spectrum …
    … I myself would rather work on trying to figure out how this dynamic — which interferes with enlightened self-government and thus harms us all — can be mitigated. …

    Would you like to know more?

  • Do more educated people see more risk — or less — in climate change?, 30 November, 2011.

    Education level has a correlation pretty close to zero (r = -0.02, p = 0.11) with climate change risk perceptions. …
    [Science] literacy and numeracy also have very minimal impact on perceptions of climate change — assessed independently of cultural worldviews.
    Once cultural worldviews are taken into account, then the impact of science literacy & numeracy on climate change risk perceptions depends on peoples' cultural orientations …
    [As] they get more science literate & numerate, egalitarian communitarians see more risk, but hierarchical individualists even less.

  • The Cultural Cognition of Risk Perception, Water Institute Lecture, 10 August, 2009.

    The cultural cognition hypothesis says that values are prior to fact in disputed in disputed issues of risk.
    Culture is prior to fact in the cognitive sense that our values shape our understandings of what risks are real, significant and which ones are contrived and overblown.
    Though an interlocking set of psychological mechanisms individuals tend to conform their beliefs about the consequences of putatively dangerous activities to their cultural valuation of those activities.




    … Persons who have [an] individualistic worldview are very sceptical of environmental risk claims.
    They're sceptical because the acceptance of those claims would entail restrictions of commerce, industry, markets, other kinds of private orderings that are allegedly causing this damage to the environment.
    Those are activities that are very important in an individualistic worldview, so it is congenial to them to believe those activities don't really pose a great danger to society.

    Egalitarians, on the other hand, resent commerce, industry, markets, as sources of unjust social stratification [and] disparity …
    [They] believe those activities are … harming society [making them] worthy of regulation.

    [Likewise,] people who have a collectivist or communitarian worldview feel … commerce and industry and market activity [is] of emblematic of noxious self-seeking self-promotion.

    Hierarchists … interpret claims of environmental risk as implicit indictments of the competence or the good intentions of societal and business elites.
    So hierarchical individualists are very sceptical and egalitarian communitarians, they are risk sensitive on environmental risks.

    Guns enable people to occupy certain hierarchical social roles, like hunter and father and protector.
    They symbolise certain important individualistic virtues like courage self-reliance and honour. …
    [In] fact, they [predict] people's gun risk perceptions … more powerfully, than any other characteristic …

    Egalitarians … associate gun with patriarchy, and with racism [for] historical social reasons …
    Communitarians [also] tend to see guns as symbolic [of] hostility towards, or indifference to the welfare of strangers. …

    The hierachs who are more communitarian in nature … worry about
    • the societal risks of drug distribution [—] harm [to] the economy, [increased] violence and crime …
    • the personal consequences [and] health risks of marihuana use. …
    • that promiscuous sex is going to … spread transmissible disease [and/or erode] important norms or order [and]
    • that abortion poses a significant health risk women who obtain the abortions, a new … rationale that's been given, for abortion law. …

    Individualist egalitarians … don't find these risks to be very credible. …

    Hierachs … resent the behaviour that is disrespectful of traditional norms, gender norms, other kinds of norms that are associated with order. …

    Individualists … resent any attempt to interfere with people's decisions of how they are going to live their lives. …
    It's not necessary to make people to conform to norms to prevent harm - so just leave it alone.

    Egalitarians, too, resent norms that stratify people [but] on other grounds, so for them … behaviour, maybe deviant from the hierarchical point of view, is harmless.

    [This] body of findings … is based primarily on survey research. …
    It [say anything] about what discrete mechanisms are that are connecting people's cultural outlooks to their risk perceptions …
    [We have investigated] this through a different set of empirical methods. …


    MECHANISMS OF CULTURAL COGNITION


    Culturally Biased Assimilation and Polarization


    Biased assimilation … refers to the tendency to of people to process information in a [way] that [reinforces] their priors.
    So if you have people to disagree about the death penalty, and you give them a common set of studies, they … converge, instead they … become even more divided, they polarise, because they're processing the information in a selective way …
    Our hypothesis is that [people] attend to information about risk in a way that [coheres with] their cultural predisposition towards risks of that type, and … as a result, if you give them information … they won't converge … they'll polarise. …

    One experiment we conducted to test this hypothesis involved nanotechnology. …

    It turns out that, 80% of the American population knows either nothing, or very little, about nanotechnology, nevertheless 90% of them have an opinion, one way or the other, on whether it's dangerous, or in fact, perfectly safe and something that we should welcome. …

    We [divided 1850 subjects] into one of two experimental groups.
    One group was the no-information group. …
    In the other group, we furnished balanced information …

    In the information-exposed condition you do see the significant cultural variation. …




    Relative to subjects who didn't have the information, hierarchical-individualists, much more likely to see benefit, and egalitarian-communitarians … much more likely to see risk …
    [They] are assimilating the information in differential ways that reinforce their priors, and as a result they polarise on those issues. …


    Culturally Biased Information Search


    We wanted to test a competing hypothesis about the formation of nanotechnology risk perceptions.
    Lots of public opinion studies had shown, that there's a positive correlation between knowledge of or familiarity with and a favourable view, a view that it's likely to be very beneficial, not very risky. …
    This lead some people to forecast …
    The more you know, the more you like it. …
    The people who don't know about it, they're going to like it too, as soon as they find out about it. …
    We found no support, for this, call it the the Familiarity Hypothesis. …
    [In] the no-information group, the people who were more familiar with nanotechnology [were] substantially more likely to think that nanotechnology's benefits would outweigh it's risks than the ones who were unfamiliar.
    But in the information-exposed condition, you didn't see [the expected] convergence [of the unfamiliar] toward the familiar with nanotechnology groups]. …




    It's not the case that exposure to information on nanotechnology, consistently induces people to form either a negative or a positive view.
    [There is no] uniform effect.
    It's effect is conditional of people's cultural orientation.
    If you have an egalitarian-communitarian view, it's negative, as you learn more.
    Hierarchical-individualist, positive, as you learn more….

    [So why] were people observing … this positive correlation between knowledge about nanotechnology and a positive view about the balance of benefits and risks? …
    It turns out, that these people who know a lot about nanotechnology are not afraid of anything!
    They don't think that private gun ownership is very dangerous … mad cow disease, no problem [—] they want more hamburgers [—] nuclear-power is not dangerous, gay marriage is not dangerous …
    [But it's] not the case the exposure to nanotechnology is making people tranquil about all manner of risk.
    There's some other influence … that is making these people, who tend not to worried about these kinds of risks [to] also learn more about nanotechnology. …

    [That influence] is cultural individualism.
    The more individualistic the person is, particularly as they become hierarchical … the more likely they are, already, to know about nanotechnology.




    These people [are] not afraid of those kinds of things.
    And, they're not afraid of nanotechnology. …
    [They] have a pro-technology disposition that makes them … more likely to go out … and find information about technology than other people. …

    Cultural predispositions can influence the processing of information in a couple of ways
    • first by influencing what kinds of information or how likely people are to be even looking for information of a certain type and …
    • second, by influencing the kinds of interpretations that they will then give to the information.
      They'll construe in a way that conforms with their cultural predispositions. …

    Cultural Credibility Heuristic


    People aren't in a position … to determine [for themselves] whether climate change is actually occurring, whether more guns means more crime or less crime, whether storing nuclear waste is deep geologic isolation is safe or not, they can't even tell if smoking is increasing their lung cancer risk …
    So … we try to find out from experts … what we should think about these disputed issues. …

    [We hypothesisd that] trust in experts would be conditional on the perception that the expert actually shared cultural outlooks with people.
    … Who do you trust on these types of issues?
    You trust somebody who is like you. …

    Some 45% of women [in their] 20's, have been exposed to the [Human Papillomavirus] virus.
    It's the main cause, probably really only the sole cause, of cervical cancer. …
    [The] FDA recently approved a vaccine for HPV … and the Centers for Disease Control issued guidelines that schools should administer the HPV vaccine to girls entering into 6th grade [along with] mumps, rubella [and] measles …
    [The reason] that you want to vaccinate the girls before they … become sexually active [is that once they've been] exposed to the virus then it's too late …

    [That] recommendation has proved extremely controversial.
    At this point only one state [has] mandatory HPV vaccination as part of enrolling in the 6th grade [Note 1]…

    [Opponents,] make argument's about risk.
    They worry about the risk that the vaccine might have side-effects that haven't been anticipated.
    They point out that the manufacturer of the HPV vaccine is Merck.
    Merck, which created Vioxx,
    They didn't tell about those side effects did they?
    They also worry that administering the vaccination to girls might lull them into a sense of false security.
    They won't use condoms in sex, and that will increase their risk of of pregnancy and … of contacting other sexually transmitted diseases … like HIV.
    So you have these arguments, and we want to know, well, to what extent is culture influencing people's receptivity to competing risk claims. …

    Hierachs would associate this idea of vaccinating the schoolgirls against a sexually transmitted disease with [the] social condoning pre-marital sex. …
    Individualists … if you had told them, that the federal regulators are blocking the vaccine, cause they're worried about risk … would say,
    That's ridiculous!
    Let people make up their own minds.
    But it you tell them … the government wants to mandate the vaccination … They don't like the government telling them what the health treatment should be, so now they are worried …
    The communitarians love the public provisioning of health.
    I think the egalitarians just love to like anything the hierachists hate. …

    They selectively credit and dismiss parts of it so that it coheres with their priors. …
    If subjects had a predisposition one way or the other to accept an argument, got that argument from the advocate who they would perceive has values like theirs, and they got the argument that we would predict they'd be predisposed to reject because of their values from an advocate whose values we predicted they would perceive aren't like theirs, that just magnifies the effect. …
    You can have an additive effect, when you get this expected alignment the advocates who have certain values telling the people who share those values, and are predisposed to one position,
    Yeah you're right!
    We also [looked] at what would happen … if, surprisingly, individuals saw a position they were predisposed to resist coming from the advocate whose values seemed most like theirs and the argument they were predispose to accept coming from somebody they that would probably see as strange. …
    There's a convergence. …
    These guys are being driven together by this.
    It tells you that the cultural credibility heuristic, hierarchically here, seems more powerful.
    People on their own, they're trying to make sense of the information.
    What are they making sense of?
    The kind of resonances, meanings.
    That starts to give them a view, but they're very sensitive then to what they see other people like them, in particular experts, who they think are like them, saying, that can actually override that. …

    We [also] looked at [a] pluralistic argument environment [in which] the subjects [received] both arguments from advocates whose cultural values are … equally proximate or remote to theirs …
    That person, then, is perceiving the argument's, it's intermural, no way to pick out correspondence between the perceived values of the advocate and positions on this issue, it's a pluralistic advocacy environment.
    And, there's still polarization there, but you can see it's a lot less than what you would have in the expected argument advocate alignment …




    Identity-Protective Cognition


    It's threatening to people to contemplate that activity that they think is honourable, virtuous, excellent, is nevertheless very harmful to other people and society or to think the conduct they despise, as base, deviant is nevertheless very beneficial to society.
    To avoid the emotional dissonance forming view like that would cause, or to avoid the potential rift you might experience between forming those beliefs and others who share your values who probably don't believe those things at all, you resist the information about risk that has bad implications for the activities you culturally value.
    You resist that as an identity self-protection mechanism, because is subversive of your identity, because of the dissonance, because of the potential conflict between you and these other people whose good opinion you probably care about a lot, emotionally, reputationally, materially and otherwise. …

    [Identity-protective] cognition is a powerful explanation for gender and race variation in risk perception. …
    That white males seem to be less concerned with all manner of risk than minorities and females.
    Call this the White Male Effect.
    What explains the White Male Effect? …

    [Perhaps it is] a product of the interaction between gender and race, on the one hand, and cultural orientations on the other.
    The hierarchical and, to the lesser extent, but still the individualistic ways of life assign social roles to people in a way that's sensitive to social differentiation.
    It's the white hierarchical male who's the hunter, father, protector, so forth, it's the individualistic male not the individualistic female who's got the gun to be courageous, to be self reliant …
    Because they have the biggest stake in those things, they have the greatest motivation in being sceptical about the claim that guns cause risk, because that is threatening to their cultural identity.
    White hierarchical males … acquire status, by succeeding in civil society.
    White hierarchical women don't.
    They acquire status by successfully occupying domestic roles … that's what they should be doing, society works best when that's the case.
    [If] its hierarchical white males, individualist males generally, who have a bigger stake in the roles that are afforded to them in commerce, in industry, that's status conferring for them within their way of life, they again, have the greatest motivation to resist the claim that those activities [are] dangerous, and therefore should be regulated.
    [It] turns out that all the gender and race variation … can be attributed to the EXTREME risk aversion that the white hierarchical individualistic males have to the claims of risk that are directed at the activities, gun ownership, participation on commerce and markets and so forth, that are status conferring for them within their cultural way of life. …

    If people are resisting information, because it threatens activities that are essential to their identity, [it should be possible] to make those people more receptive to information about the riskiness of those activities by framing it in way that affirms, rather than threatens their values.

    We tested this hypothesis with a study of global warming and nuclear power. …




    [There] is no logical connection between what you propose to do to solve a problem and whether there … is a problem in the first place.
    Either the earth is heating up, it's being caused by humans, and it's going to have a bad effect or not.
    [Whether] those are true propositions or not does not depend of whether you're proposing to deal with that problem … with anti-pollution measures or nuclear power. …

    [However, anti-pollution] measures are threatening to individualists.
    [They] resist information about global warming … because if they accept the information that implies that we're going to have to restrict [commerce and industry] though the anti-pollution …
    That's dissonance creating, that can drive a wedge between you and other people who aren't going to accept information so you resist to protect your identity.

    [Conversely, nuclear] power is not threatening to the identity of an individualist, it is affirming. …
    It's a powerful symbol of the mastery of human agents over Nature. …

    If the individualist is affirmed by that then he has less motivation to resist the facts that are being asserted as justifying
    This is exactly what we find.




    The individualists in the nuclear power condition … are much more likely to accept the scientists assertions that the that the earth is heating up, that humans are causing it, and that it's going to have horrible consequence, than are the individualists who read the story about anti-pollution.
    In fact, the individualists who read the story about anti-pollution … were even more sceptical about those facts than individualists [in] a control group that hadn't even been exposed to the dire warnings of the eminent scientists.
    In other words, [those subjects who were] told that the scientists had found that the earth is heating up, that it's caused by humans, that it was going to cause huge problems, and that we'd better have anti-pollution … were even more resistant than those who had been told nothing at all.
    That biased assimilation with a vengeance. …


    POSITIVE, NORMATIVE AND PRESCRIPTIVE IMPLICATIONS OF THE CULTURAL COGNITION OF RISK PERCEPTION


    [Failure of The Deficit Model:] The Spontaneous Enlightenment Fallacy


    The positive implication, the descriptive claim:
    Don't expect the public to gravitate spontaneously, naturally, towards sound scientific information. …
    This is the default strategy of public risk communication. …
    Get the word out about the HPV.
    Get the word out about the climate change.
    So that the public knows and can act.
    The reason this is naive is that it doesn't take into account how people react to that information will depend on whether it affirms or threatens their values.
    They'll accept it or not, based on mechanisms of cultural cognition.
    In fact, if you just rush to get information out there and inadvertently you do so in ways that invest it with affective resonances that are threatening to the identity of people, or you associate it with sources that they distrust.
    They'll probably just be more sceptical.
    You'll create persistent and durable sources of resistance that will make it less likely that the public will converge on sound scientific information. …

    [Better Dead than Green:] Cultural Cognition as Bias


    I wouldn't say, uniformly, that all judgments that reflect cultural cognition should be described as a kind of bias.
    In fact there may be some kinds of risk issues where fact and value issues are so intimately intertwined that it would really just be artificial to separate them.
    And on those kinds of issues we might think, that the contribution that cultural cognition is making, especially through our affective or emotional responses to risks, is a reliable even necessary kind of moral perception. …

    Because it's not always just about how big the risk is …
    Ronald Reagan, 'better [dead] than [RED]' and so you have to take the right stance here [in relation to] fact and value.

    Well that may be so for some kinds of risk issues but I don't think it's true for the kinds of things I've been discussing here across a wide range of consequential risk issues. …
    The individualist and communitarian disagree about whether, and how much, of the surplus that is generated from private transactions in the market should be directed to the state to public ends.
    But I don't think that individualists disagree, with communitarians and egalitarians, that it would be disaster if the ice caps were to melt and we were to have catastrophic flooding.
    I don't think they say better dead than GREEN.
    They have the same ends. …
    Hierachists and egalitarians … agree largely about ends, the attainment of prosperity for society, the avoidance of environmental catastrophe, the promotion of public health, the achievement of security at the local level, the national level.
    They disagree however, only about facts relevant to attaining those ends.
    Why?
    As a result of the contribution cultural cognition is making to their reaction to scientific information that might be available to them.
    I think if they understand that, I think in fact they often do understand that, they are going to see cultural cognition as bias.
    They going to agree, that they'd be better off if they could structure their deliberative environment in a way that either neutralized, or at least mitigated the effect of cultural cognition in generating conflict about scientific information in those circumstances. ….


    Deliberative Debiasing


    [The goal of deliberative debiasing strategies is] to identify risk communication strategies that present information in a way that makes the open-minded consideration of it, consistent with non-threatening to cultural orientations of all citizens.
    Avoid that information, either deliberately or accidentally, [acquiring] meaning that makes one group or another have a strong identity-protective cognition, motivation to resist it. …

    No, its possible to think about ways in which this would that advance your values to consider the information in a more open-minded way. …

    I don't think it infeasible at all through the self-conscious recruitment of diverse,cultural diverse people by risk communicators to create the situation you see in the pluralistic argument environment, where people don't get the cue its us versus them. …

    This is not a program to convince any particular cultural group to support any particular position on climate change, on gun control, HPV, nuclear waste disposal.
    Instead, it is a proposal to think together about how it is that we might structure our deliberations, our risk communication in a way that satisfies the goal that citizens of diverse cultural perspectives have in having access, being able to recognize and rely on, the best scientific information their society has about the risks that they really face. …


    QUESTIONS


    Anything on social psychology, you're just rediscovering what the marketers did, but because they're not academics, they didn't tell anyone about it. …

    … It's what you can do to inject into the stream of information, currents that are going to make acceptance of sound information acceptable to everybody. …

    These [constructs] are very reliable, they are tapping into some latent attitude [or] outlook. …

    What exactly are you actually measuring in here? …

    These are attitudinal measures, that I'm going to predict [are] going to manifest in sensible ways of behaviour given the environment constraints that people are in.
    Are they psychological dispositions? …
    There's something called sensation-seeking [-] those measures are not very strong at all in predicting risk perceptions. …

    [The] idea that people have generic attitudes towards risk, whether they're personality traits or, economists would think preferences, is crazy, because risks are not just something you can measure with a valence, as an actuarial measure of magnitude or and expected disutility.
    They're meanings.
    Your stance toward them, either promotes or frustrates an identity.
    And that's not going to correlate in any recognizable sense with their status as risks abstracted from risks about anything at all …
    [My] sense is, that personality features, to the extent that they a genuinely not about cultural attitudes, are going to have a similar problem. …
    They're more about styles of sociability …

    [If] I'm a doctor, and I'm treating a discourse pathology, and you tell me I can basically reduce the morbidity here of my patient …
    These are meaningful effect sizes, especially when we have majority … they flip people from one position to another.
    Yes, they are not explaining everything, and maybe I can give you other co-variants that help to explain everything …
    You have r squared envy, you economists, it's not how big your r squared is that matters, it's what you do with it …
    This is true in medical research, very small r squareds are associated with huge practical significance in the effectiveness of treatments. …

    I want people to converge on the truth.
    … I don't want people to converge on a position, if the position they have that's different from somebody else's [is] because they have different values.
    They're going to balance the risk acceptability …
    [It's] not cultural cognition, it's cultural valuation.
    What kinds of risks are worth undertaking to achieve what?
    And you and I might agree about what the facts are at that point and still disagree about something.
    That's fine. …

    What I want try to create tools for science communication, in risk perception, and in public policy generally, that make the prospect, that institutions of democratic participation will be receptive to, and able to act on, the sound facts, to a great extent as is possible. …

    There are two models of risk perception …
    One is a kind of rational player model.
    [W. Kip] Viscusi … in aggregate, and over time, people generally process information about risks in a way that promotes their expected utility.
    Well, it that's, so, don't do anything.
    The guy who's working in a dangerous industry will want a wage premium.
    This person will decide rationally or not to become addicted to cigarettes, just BUTT OUT.

    Then there's another model.
    People can't possibly process information about risk in a way they promotes there expected utility because of biases and other kinds of limitations on rationality and the general policy prescription with that is don't have public participation.
    Because if the problem is, that we're not good at Bayesianism or something like that …

    Cass Sunstein said … people are talking all of sudden about arsenic in the water or … nuclear power, what do you do?
    [They] can't process the information in a way that is rational and they tend to get nervous about risk.
    CHANGE THE SUBJECT, that is a quote, change the subject and let time do the rest.
    Meanwhile, locate the power in me, now, because I'm the head of the Office of Management and Budget …

    Steven Breyer says the same thing.
    You should be locating the power to make these decisions in politically insulated decision makers.
    They're going to develop habits of mind and training that they use their system 2.
    Your system 1 is your intuitive, affective, rapid and you get terrified, and that was very good because you didn't get eaten by a saber tooth tiger, but we're beyond that now.
    We need system 2, slow, reflective, analytic, dispassionate, and we go to public policy schools and law schools to train people to be that way.
    And those people should be given the power.

    And that's right, if … lay people [are] systematically are getting it wrong about science … because they're not relying on their analytic capacities enough. …
    It's wrong though, if the source of the disagreement is not the defects in cognition but the contribution that values are making. …
    It's wrong because, it's not clear that Steven Breyer has better values than you do. …

    If you look at the state of opinion on climate change in this country in the last few years, we're not converging … people remain just as divided. …
    … 72% of people said they worried about it a great deal or a fair amount in 2000, 60% today.
    [They] care about it less than any other environmental issue … even though, arguably, it's the one with the greatest consequence. …

    The lack of comprehension, is not stupidity, it's not randomly distributed, it's not education, it's cultural.
    I think what's been tried is a bad theory of risk communication.
    And at least we shouldn't give up until we try something like this. …

    [Whether] you're a hierach or an egalitarian, we're different, we can both recognise that this still exists.
    I'm showing you examples of it affect you, and I'm showing you examples of it affecting me.
    And I'm saying it's bad for both of us.
    My cultural viewpoint doesn't have a reason to support this more than yours.
    We can agree on that.
    Then could we agree, that we would be better off, our situation would be improved, if we could come up with devices that would make both of us less likely to be influenced by that.
    [Am] I still going to have these problems, on particular occasions?
    Yes, but I'll tell you another thing.
    If I say I do. …
    I'm making it easier for you to not to see me as someone who's hostile to your cultural identity.
    Making it easier for you to accept that somebody who is trying to persuade you of something is mindful of limitations.
    Doing this, does not depend on our somehow feeling we can [entirely] escape these biases. …

    Would you like to know more?


NOTE

  1. Kahan, Dan M, Braman, Donald, Cohen, Geoffrey L, Slovic, Paul and Gastil, John; Who Fears the HPV Vaccine, Who Doesn't, and Why? An Experimental Study of the Mechanisms of Cultural Cognition, 15 July 2008 in Law and Human Behavior, Vol 34, pp 501-16, 2010.

    To date only Virginia (site of a proposed Merck plant to manufacture the vaccine) and the District of Columbia have adopted [mandatory vaccination].

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