This is an excerpt from my and Jonathan aka "cognitive steel-cage match Don King" Corbin's paper on AOT and climate change polarization. I'm posting it as a follow up to my own response to @MaineWayne's perceptive question in response to Jonathan's post from "yesterday" on the grizzly AOT vs. CRT steel cage match.
The results of the study [showing that higher AOT scores magnify rather than mitigate political polarization over the reality of climate change] could be understood to suggest that the standard measure of AOT included in the data we analyzed is not valid. Actively Open-minded Thinking is supposed to evince a motivation to resist “my side” bias in information processing (Stanovich et al., 2013). Thus, one might naturally expect the individuals highest in AOT to converge, not polarize all the more forcefully, on contested issues like climate change. Because our evidence contravenes this expectation, it could be that the AOT scale on which our results are based is not faithfully measuring any genuine AOT disposition.
We do not ourselves find this last possibility convincing. Again, the results we report here are consistent with those reported in many studies that show political polarization to be associated with higher scores on externally validated, objective measures of cognitive proficiency such as the CRT test, Numeracy, and science literacy (Lewandowsky & Oberauer 2016; National Research Council 2016; Kahan, 2013, 2016; Kahan et al., 2012). Because such results do nothing to call these measures into doubt, we do not see why our results would cast any doubt on the validity of the AOT scale we used, which in fact has also been validated in other studies (e.g., Haran et al., 2013; Baron et al. 2015; Mellers et al., 2015).
Instead we think the most convincing conclusion is that the disposition measured by the standard AOT scale, like the dispositions measured by these other cognitive-proficiency measures, is one that has become tragically entangled in the social dynamics that give rise to pointed, persistent forms of political conflict (Kahan, in press_b). As do other studies, ours “suggest[s] it might not be people who are characterised by more or less myside bias, but beliefs that differ in the degree of myside bias they engender” (Stanovich & West 2008, p. 159). “Beliefs” about human-caused climate change and a few select other highly divisive empirical issues are ones that people use to express who they are, an end that has little to do with the truth of what people, “liberal” or “conservative,” know (National Rsearch Council 2016; Kahan 2015).
 Science curiosity might be an individual difference in cognition that evades this entanglement and promotes genuine receptivity to counter-attitudinal evidence among persons of opposing political outlooks (Kahan et al. in press).
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Haran U, Ritov I, and Mellers BA (2013) The role of actively open-minded thinking in information acquisition, accuracy, and calibration. Judgment and Decision Making 8: 188.
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Kahan DM (2016) “Ordinary science intelligence”: a science-comprehension measure for study of risk and science communication, with notes on evolution and climate change. J. Risk Res., available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13669877.2016.1148067
Kahan DM, Landrum AR, Carpenter K, Helft L, and Jamieson KH Science curiosity and political information processing (in press). Advances in Political Psychology. Available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2816803.
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Kahan DM, Peters E, Wittlin M, Slovic P, Ouellette LL, Braman D, and Mandel G (2012) The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks. Nature Climate Change 2: 732-735.
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Mellers, B, Stone, E, Atanasov, P, Rohrbaugh, N, Metz, SE, Ungar, L, Bishop, M., Horowitz, M, Merkle E and Tetlock, P (2015) The psychology of intelligence analysis: Drivers of prediction accuracy in world politics. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 21: 1-14.
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