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Could use a little help from my friends: new working paper on disgust, GM food & childhood vaccine risk perceptions

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Reader Comments (8)

At 9:34 (CST) on Jan. 3, clicking on the link gave "We are currently experiencing technical difficulties. Please excuse the inconvenience." If that's the same result a few hours from now, you might want to check with the people hosting this article.

January 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRoss Hartshorn

@Ross-- seems to be back up now. I'm sure it's those pesky Russians again

January 3, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Kinda, somewhat related.... or maybe not.



January 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Of particular interest (well, to me at least) - w/r/t some previous discussions on this here blog:


[Those who care deeply about GM foods/those who are particularly focused on healthy and nutritious eating]'s views of scientists and science research findings are often in sync with others, but people with a deep concern about the issue of GM foods are particularly skeptical of information from food industry leaders about the health effects of GM foods and see more industry influence on science research findings than do other Americans.


So, according to PEW, those who care a lot about GMs and what they eat, while they might be distinct in some of their views, are like those who don't particularly care about those issues in that they trust scientists. And yet, I'm always reading in the "skept-o-sphere" that there is a "crisis" in the public trust in scientists (due, of course, to those "activist" climate "alarmists" and their "advocacy" that has so often been proven wrong).

Could it be that some of the online, self-described "skeptics" aren't particularly skeptical after all, and fall into one of the the biggest errors of non-skepticism in generalizing from themselves as examples of the general public, when in reality, they aren't representative samples?

Say it ain't so!

January 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"Could it be that some of the online, self-described "skeptics" aren't particularly skeptical after all..."

You mean these guys?

Oh. No. You presumably meant this bit:

And, half of those who care deeply about the issue of GM foods (50%) say that scientific findings about GM foods are influenced by the researchers’ desires to help their industries “most of the time.” In contrast, 22% of those with little personal concern about the issue of GM foods say the same.

So of those concerned about GM foods, 50% don't trust scientists, while for those who don't care the figure is 22%. Hmmm. Looks like quite a big difference to me.

Of course, that might not mean anything. People holding a particular opinion will be more inclined to distrust scientists who hold the opposite opinion. If they think they have evidence for their opinion, and the scientist doesn't present any valid counter-argument of evidence, that might very well be a reasonable thing to do. Correlation does not imply causation - despite what previous discussions on this blog might have asserted. :-)

January 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Dan, I am catching up on reading.

I was reading Resilience and Culture,

6.1 Individualism and collectivism The correlation of informrisk and individualism (and nondrop) are mainly driven by the lack of coping capacity (see Table 6.1). At level 3 (Table 6.2) it becomes obvious that, not only are institution and infrastructure important determinants of coping capacity, but socio-economic vulnerability also has comparable large, negative correlation coefficients. It is, however, surprising that the exposure to natural hazards is also strongly negatively correlated with individualism.

I can't figure their statement of surprise out. Although as a society, we work on managing risk, societies' work is general in nature. But as your Florida work suggested, a more local situational response is more obtainable. In this case, both the general as from a societal concern, and the individual as a risk concern would be in agreement, the deciding factor of ability would be economics.

If I was looking at it economically, since the authors agree with economic ability strongly correlates with the ability of coping, economists such as Smith and Friedmans correlate economic ability with individualism.The authors talk of Adam Smith in section 2.

I wonder if the pathological part of disgust is lack of trust, and the pathological part of trust is cognitive bias. Along the lines that I was surprised by what the authors of Resilience and Culture found surprising. With that paper, I found myself wondering if their work was trustworthy. Which leads me to my real question, is there a threshold value for when one or society crosses over from surprise/new information into a pathological biased response?

January 8, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjohn f pittman

This is good stuff. One reason I don't use individual differences of disgust sensitivity is that it's hard to know what else it's entangled with. Here it seems DS is proxying for general avoidance/prevention motivation of all kinds of threats. It behaves more as expected when you look at policy, though, with the expected difference between social and economic lib/con issues. There may be differences between issues in the extent the invoke a threat ...

January 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Giner-Sorolla


thanks! glad to see you also find the result intriguing.

January 13, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

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