The Situationist

The Situation of Risk Perceptions – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on October 8, 2008

Gregory Mandel, Donald Braman, and Situationist Contributor Dan Kahan recently posted their paper, “Cultural Cognition and Synthetic Biology Risk Perceptions: A Preliminary Analysis,” on SSRN.  Here’s the abstract.

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We describe the results of a study to determine the synthetic-biology risk perceptions of a large and diverse sample of Americans (N = 1,500). The survey found that hierarchical, conservative, and highly religious individuals – one who normally are skeptical of claims of environmental risks (including those relating to global warming) – are the most concerned about synthetic biology risks. We offer an interpretation that identifies how selective risk-skepticism and risk-sensitivity can convey a cultural commitment to traditional forms of authority.

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