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What Is the "Science of Science Communication"?

Climate-Science Communication and the Measurement Problem

Ideology, Motivated Cognition, and Cognitive Reflection: An Experimental Study

'Ideology' or 'Situation Sense'? An Experimental Investigation of Motivated Reasoning and Professional Judgment

A Risky Science Communication Environment for Vaccines

Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government

Ideology, Motivated Cognition, and Cognitive Reflection: An Experimental Study

Making Climate Science Communication Evidence-based—All the Way Down 

Neutral Principles, Motivated Cognition, and Some Problems for Constitutional Law 

Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus

The Tragedy of the Risk-Perception Commons: Science Literacy and Climate Change

"They Saw a Protest": Cognitive Illiberalism and the Speech-Conduct Distinction 

Geoengineering and the Science Communication Environment: a Cross-Cultural Experiment

Fixing the Communications Failure

Why We Are Poles Apart on Climate Change

The Cognitively Illiberal State 

Who Fears the HPV Vaccine, Who Doesn't, and Why? An Experimental Study

Cultural Cognition of the Risks and Benefits of Nanotechnology

Whose Eyes Are You Going to Believe? An Empirical Examination of Scott v. Harris

Cultural Cognition and Public Policy

Culture, Cognition, and Consent: Who Perceives What, and Why, in "Acquaintance Rape" Cases

Culture and Identity-Protective Cognition: Explaining the White Male Effect

Fear of Democracy: A Cultural Evaluation of Sunstein on Risk

Cultural Cognition as a Conception of the Cultural Theory of Risk

The Cultural Cognition Project is a group of scholars interested in studying how cultural values shape public risk perceptions and related policy beliefs. Cultural cognition refers to the tendency of individuals to conform their beliefs about disputed matters of fact (e.g., whether global warming is a serious threat; whether the death penalty deters murder; whether gun control makes society more safe or less) to values that define their cultural identities.Project members are using the methods of various disciplines -- including social psychology, anthropology, communications, and political science -- to chart the impact of this phenomenon and to identify the mechanisms through which it operates. The Project also has an explicit normative objective: to identify processes of democratic decisionmaking by which society can resolve culturally grounded differences in belief in a manner that is both congenial to persons of diverse cultural outlooks and consistent with sound public policymaking.

Below are some current CCP research projects:


The Science of Science Communication

 Why as science furnishes more and more knowledge essential to their well-being do members of culturally diverse groups agree less and less about the risks they confront and the policies best suited for abating them? This project seeks to use science's own signature methods of disciplined observation and inference to identify and solve the "science communication problem" distinctive of contemporary pluralistic democracies.



Evidence-based Science Communication

The same methods used in the lab must also be employed in the field if the insigh of the "science of science communication" are to have a real world impact. This project features collaborations by empirical researchers and local-government decisionmakers aimed at identifying and empirically testing strategies for promoting constructive public engagement with decision-relevant science.

Science of Science Filmmaking

How can science filmmakers satisfy the appetite that culturally diverse citizens share in experiencing wonder and awe in scientific discovery? How in particular can they make it possible for curious individuals to avoid having to choose between enjoying that experience and enjoying the sense of community they derive from their membership in groups tragically entangled in recriminatory controversies over issues like evolution and climate change? The animating hypothesis of this project is that science filmmakers can use science to help them answer these very questions.


Science Literacy & Cultural Polarization

The capacity of citizens to make sense of climate change and other risk issues depends at least in part on their knowledge of science and their ability to engage in technical reasoning. Perversely, however, citizens who are the most proficient in these forms of critical reasoning have been shown to be the most most polarized on culturally contested risks. This aim of this project is to identify the conditions that create this tragic conflict between science comprehension and constructive civic deliberations on societal risks.


Cultural cognition and law

In a liberal society, the state is forbidden to “pick sides” between citizens who subscribe to different visions of the best way of life and must confine legal obligations to ones consistent with interests shared by all citizens. But is this basic constitutional principle psychologically realistic? This project investigates how cultural cognition influences jurors’ determination of facts, judges’ interpretations of law, and citizens’ perceptions of the neutrality of the outcomes in cases suffused with cultural conflict.


Vaccine Science Communication Environment

This project has two goals: first, to enlarge societal understanding of how to promote informed public engagement with valid empirical evidence on the efficacy and safety of vaccines; and second, to advance societal recognition of the need to use valid empirical evidence to guide communication on vaccines and other applications of science essential to societal well-being.