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Www.culturalcognition.net Is Ideologically Motivated Reasoning Rational? And Do Only Conservatives Engage In It?!

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Presentation on theme: "Www.culturalcognition.net Is Ideologically Motivated Reasoning Rational? And Do Only Conservatives Engage In It?!"— Presentation transcript:

1 Is Ideologically Motivated Reasoning Rational? And Do Only Conservatives Engage In It?!

2 I.Modeling motivated reasoning II.The Cultural cognition of risk (& other things) III.Ideology, cognitive reflection & motivated reasoning What am I talking about?...

3 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds Bayesian Information Processing

4 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief Confirmation Bias prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds

5 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief Motivated Reasoning prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds Extrinsic Goal/Interest

6 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds Extrinsic Goal/Interest Motivated ReasoningSpurious confirmation bias

7 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief Motivated Reasoning prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds Extrinsic Goal/Interest

8 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief Motivated Reasoning prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds Ideological Predisposition Ideologically Motivated Reasoning

9

10 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds Motivated ReasoningSpurious confirmation bias Ideological Predisposition

11 I.Modeling motivated reasoning II.The Cultural cognition of risk (& other things) III.Ideology, cognitive reflection & motivated reasoning What am I talking about?...

12 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief Motivated Reasoning prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds Extrinsic Goal/Interest Cultural Cognition of Risk

13 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief Motivated Reasoning prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds Cultural Predisposition Cultural Cognition of Risk

14 Hierarchy Egalitarianism Abortion procedure Mary Douglass Group-grid worldview scheme compulsory psychiatric treatment Abortion procedure compulsory psychiatric treatment Risk Perception Key Low Risk High Risk Individualism Communitarianism Environment: climate, nuclear Guns/Gun Control HPV Vaccination Gays military/gay parenting Environment: climate, nuclear hierarchical individualists hierarchical communitarians egalitarian communitariansegalitarian individualists

15 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief Cultural Cognition prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds Cultural Predisposition Cultural Cognition of Risk

16 38 Identity Protective Cognition

17 Mechanisms of cultural cognition Culturally biased search & assimilation Cultural credibility heuristic Cultural availability effect Identity-affirmation Culturally motivated system 2 reasoning

18

19 Source: Kahan, Braman, Slovic, Gastil & Cohen Cultural Cognition of Nanotechnology Risks and Benefits, Nature Nanotechnology, 4(2), (2009) Perceive Benefits > Risks * Change across conditions significant at p < % 25% 50% 75% 100%

20 Source: Kahan, Braman, Slovic, Gastil & Cohen Cultural Cognition of Nanotechnology Risks and Benefits, Nature Nanotechnology, 4(2), (2009) * Change across conditions significant at p < % 25% 50% 75% 100% Perceive Benefits > Risks

21 Source: Kahan, Braman, Slovic, Gastil & Cohen Cultural Cognition of Nanotechnology Risks and Benefits, Nature Nanotechnology, 4(2), (2009) * Change across conditions significant at p < % 25% 50% 75% 100% Perceive Benefits > Risks

22 Information effect: familiarity Information effect: culture Perceive Benefits > Risks

23 Information effect: familiarity Information effect: culture Perceive Benefits > Risks

24 High Risk Moderate Risk Slight Risk Almost No Risk n = 1,820 to 1,830. Risk variables are 4-pt measures of risk to people in American Society posed by indicated risk. Differences between group means all significant at p.01.

25 Information effect: familiarity Information effect: culture Perceive Benefits > Risks

26 0.9% 2.2% 3.6% 5.8% 19.5% -1.4% -0.9% -0.5% -2.6% 0% -5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 5% Increase in Predicted Likelihood of Self- Reported Familiarity with Nanotechnology Hierarch Egalitarian 20th 40th60th80th99th Communitarian Individualistic Percentile Figure S1 1st Source: Kahan, Braman, Slovic, Gastil & Cohen Cultural Cognition of Nanotechnology Risks and Benefits, Nature Nanotechnology, 4(2), (2009)

27 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief Cultural Worldview prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds Cultural Cognition of Risk

28 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief Cultural Worldview prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds Cultural Cognition of Risk

29 Mechanisms of cultural cognition Culturally biased search & assimilation Cultural credibility heuristic Cultural availability effect Identity-affirmation Culturally motivated system 2 reasoning

30 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds Cultural Predisposition Cultural Cognition of Risk

31 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds Spurious confirmation bias Cultural Predisposition

32 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds Cultural Predisposition Cultural Cognition of Risk

33

34 Control Condition

35 Anti-pollution Condition

36 Geoengineering Condition

37 more polarization less polarization Polarization z_Study dismiss 2 anti-pollution Kahan, Jenkins-Smith, Tarantola, Silva & Braman, Geoengineering and the Science Communication Environment, CCP Working Paper No. 92 (Jan. 9, 2012), available at

38 Mechanisms of cultural cognition Culturally biased search & assimilation Cultural credibility heuristic Cultural availability effect Identity-affirmation Culturally motivated system 2 reasoning

39 Kahan, D.M., Peters, E., Wittlin, M., Slovic, P., Ouellette, L.L., Braman, D. & Mandel, G. The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks. Nature Climate Change 2, (2012).

40 Two Hypotheses 1.Public Irrationality Thesis (PIT) 2.Cultural cognition thesis (CCT) science illiteracy bounded rationality

41 How much risk do you believe climate change poses to human health, safety, or prosperity? Greater Lesser perceived risk (z-score)

42 Greater Lesser perceived risk (z-score) PIT prediction: Science Illiteracy & Bounded Rationality High Sci. litearcy/System 2 (slow) Low Sci. litearcy/System 1 (fast) How much risk do you believe climate change poses to human health, safety, or prosperity?

43 Lesser Risk Greater Risk Science literacy Numeracy low high perceived risk (z-score) lowhigh PIT prediction actual variance How much risk do you believe climate change poses to human health, safety, or prosperity?

44 Greater Lesser perceived risk (z-score) How much risk do you believe climate change poses to human health, safety, or prosperity? Low Sci lit/numeracy High Sci lit/numeracy Cultural Variance Hierarchical Individualist Egalitarian Communitarian Cultural variance conditional on sci. literacy/numeracy?

45 Greater Lesser perceived risk (z-score) How much risk do you believe climate change poses to human health, safety, or prosperity? Low Sci lit/numeracy High Sci lit/numeracy Egalitarian Communitarian PIT prediction: Culture as heuristic substitute Hierarchical Individualist

46 Greater Lesser perceived risk (z-score) How much risk do you believe climate change poses to human health, safety, or prosperity? High Sci lit/numeracy Actual interaction of culture & sci-lit/num... Low Sci lit/numeracy High Sci lit/numeracy Egal Comm Low Sci/lit numeracy Egal Comm Low Sci lit/num. Hierarc Individ High Sci lit/numeracy Hierarch Individ

47 Greater Lesser perceived risk (z-score) How much risk do you believe climate change poses to human health, safety, or prosperity? High Sci lit/numeracy Low Sci lit/numeracy Low Sci lit/num. Hierarc Individ High Sci lit/numeracy Egal Comm High Sci lit/numeracy Hierarch Individ Low Sci/lit numeracy Egal Comm Actual interaction of culture & sci-lit/num...

48 Greater Lesser perceived risk (z-score) How much risk do you believe climate change poses to human health, safety, or prosperity? High Sci lit/numeracy Low Sci lit/numeracy Low Sci lit/num. Hierarc Individ POLARIZATION INCREASES as scil-lit/numeracy increases High Sci lit/numeracy Egal Comm High Sci lit/numeracy Hierarch Individ Low Sci/lit numeracy Egal Comm

49 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief Cultural Worldview prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds System 1 and System 2 Cultural Cognition of Risk

50 Mechanisms of cultural cognition Culturally biased search & assimilation Cultural credibility heuristic Cultural availability effect Identity-affirmation Culturally motivated system 2 reasoning

51 I.Modeling motivated reasoning II.The Cultural cognition of risk (& other things) III.Ideology, cognitive reflection & motivated reasoning What am I talking about?...

52

53 Asymmetry thesis

54 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief Cultural Cognition prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds System 1 and System 2 Cultural Predisposition

55 38 Identity Protective Cognition

56

57 1,800 adults drawn from nationally representative on-line panel Political ideology & party affiliation Cognitive reflection test (CRT) Perceived validity of CRT control vs. skeptic-is-biased & nonskeptic-is-biased Sample Measures Experimental Manipulation Study design

58 1,800 adults drawn from nationally representative on-line panel Political ideology & party affiliation Cognitive reflection test (CRT) Perceived validity of CRT control vs. skeptic-is-biased & nonskeptic-is-biased Sample Measures Experimental Manipulation Study design

59 1,800 adults drawn from nationally representative on-line panel Political ideology & party affiliation Cognitive reflection test (CRT) Perceived validity of CRT control vs. skeptic-is-biased & nonskeptic-is-biased Sample Measures Experimental Manipulation Study design

60 1,800 adults drawn from nationally representative on-line panel Political ideology & party affiliation Cognitive reflection test (CRT) Perceived validity of CRT control vs. skeptic-is-biased & nonskeptic-is-biased Sample Measures Experimental Manipulation Study design

61 Finding # 1. Political differences in CRT are trivial CRT Score Democrat Republican N = Derived from ordered logit regression. Outcome variable is CRT score. Predictor is 7-point partisan self-identification measure. Predictor value set at 2 for Democrat and 6 for Republican. CIs are 0.95 level of confidence. Likelihood of Score

62 CRT Score Likelihood of Score

63 1,800 adults drawn from nationally representative on-line panel Political ideology & party affiliation Cognitive reflection test (CRT) Perceived validity of CRT control vs. skeptic-is-biased & nonskeptic-is-biased Sample Measures Experimental Manipulation Study design

64 1,800 adults drawn from nationally representative on-line panel Political ideology & party affiliation Cognitive reflection test (CRT) Perceived validity of CRT control vs. skeptic-is-biased & nonskeptic-is-biased Sample Measures Experimental Manipulation Study design

65 Psychologists believe the questions you have just answered measure how reflective and open-minded someone is. How strongly do you agree or disagree with this statement? [strongly disagree, moderately disagree, slightly disagree, slightly agree, moderately disagree, strongly disagree] I think the word-problem test I just took supplies good evidence of how reflective and open-minded someone is.

66 1,800 adults drawn from nationally representative on-line panel Political ideology & party affiliation Cognitive reflection test (CRT) Perceived validity of CRT control vs. skeptic-is-biased & nonskeptic-is-biased Sample Measures Experimental Manipulation Study design

67 1,800 adults drawn from nationally representative on-line panel Political ideology & party affiliation Cognitive reflection test (CRT) Perceived validity of CRT control vs. skeptic-is-biased & nonskeptic-is-biased Sample Measures Experimental Manipulation Study design

68 1.Control condition Psychologists believe the questions you have just answered measure how reflective and open-minded someone is Skeptic-is-biased condition... In one recent study, a researcher found that people who accept evidence of climate change tend to get more answers correct than those who reject evidence of climate change. If the test is a valid way to measure open-mindedness, that finding would imply that those who believe climate change is happening are more open-minded than those who are skeptical that climate change is happening Nonskeptic-is-biased condition... In one recent study, a researcher found that people who reject evidence of climate change tend to get more answers correct than those who accept evidence of climate change. If the test is a valid way to measure open-mindedness, that finding would imply that those who are skeptical that climate change is happening are more open-minded than those who believe climate change is happening....

69 1.Control condition Psychologists believe the questions you have just answered measure how reflective and open-minded someone is Skeptic-is-biased condition... In one recent study, a researcher found that people who accept evidence of climate change tend to get more answers correct than those who reject evidence of climate change. If the test is a valid way to measure open-mindedness, that finding would imply that those who believe climate change is happening are more open-minded than those who are skeptical that climate change is happening Nonskeptic-is-biased condition... In one recent study, a researcher found that people who reject evidence of climate change tend to get more answers correct than those who accept evidence of climate change. If the test is a valid way to measure open-mindedness, that finding would imply that those who are skeptical that climate change is happening are more open-minded than those who believe climate change is happening....

70 Asymmetry thesis

71 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief Ideological Predisposition Ideologically Motivated Reasoning prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds

72 Prior: other side displays IMR Other sides CRT score Ideological Predisposition Ideologically Motivated Reasoning prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds Revised: other side displays IMR New Evidence

73 Prior Factual Belief New Evidence Revised Factual Belief Ideological Predisposition Ideologically Motivated Reasoning prior odds X likelihood ratio = posterior odds

74 1,800 adults drawn from nationally representative on-line panel Political ideology & party affiliation Cognitive reflection test (CRT) Perceived validity of CRT control vs. skeptic-is-biased & nonskeptic-is-biased Sample Measures Experimental Manipulation Study design Kahan, Ideology, Motivated Reasoning, and Cognitive Reflection, CCP Working Paper No. 107 (Nov. 19, 2012), available at

75 Finding # 2. Ideologically biased assimilation of validity of CRT control nonskeptic is biased skeptic is biased Fitted ordered-logit regression analysis values. Y-axis reflects predicted probability of agreeing either slightly, moderately, or strongly with CRT_valid.

76 1,800 adults drawn from nationally representative on-line panel Political ideology & party affiliation Cognitive reflection test (CRT) Perceived validity of CRT control vs. skeptic-is-biased & nonskeptic-is-biased Sample Measures Experimental Manipulation Study design Kahan, Ideology, Motivated Reasoning, and Cognitive Reflection, CCP Working Paper No. 107 (Nov. 19, 2012), available at

77 1,800 adults drawn from nationally representative on-line panel Political ideology & party affiliation Cognitive reflection test (CRT) Perceived validity of CRT control vs. skeptic-is-biased & nonskeptic-is-biased Sample Measures Experimental Manipulation Study design Kahan, Ideology, Motivated Reasoning, and Cognitive Reflection, CCP Working Paper No. 107 (Nov. 19, 2012), available at

78 Finding # 2. Ideologically biased assimilation of validity of CRT control nonskeptic is biased skeptic is biased Fitted ordered-logit regression analysis values. Y-axis reflects predicted probability of agreeing either slightly, moderately, or strongly with CRT_valid.

79 Finding # 3. Ideologically biased assimilation increases with CRT Note. N = Derived from ordered logit regression. Point estimates of predicted likelihood of agreeing (slightly, moderately or strongly) that CRT test is valid. CIs are 0.95 level of confidence.

80 1.Control condition Psychologists believe the questions you have just answered measure how reflective and open-minded someone is Skeptic-is-biased condition... In one recent study, a researcher found that people who accept evidence of climate change tend to get more answers correct than those who reject evidence of climate change. If the test is a valid way to measure open-mindedness, that finding would imply that those who believe climate change is happening are more open-minded than those who are skeptical that climate change is happening Nonskeptic-is-biased condition... In one recent study, a researcher found that people who reject evidence of climate change tend to get more answers correct than those who accept evidence of climate change. If the test is a valid way to measure open-mindedness, that finding would imply that those who are skeptical that climate change is happening are more open-minded than those who believe climate change is happening....

81 Is Ideologically Motivated Reasoning Rational? And Do Only Conservatives Engage In It?! vs.

82 Is Ideologically Motivated Reasoning Rational? And Do Only Conservatives Engage In It?!

83 Did protestors cross the line between speech and intimidation? source: Dan M. Kahan, David A. Hoffman, Donald Braman, Danieli Evans & Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, They Saw a Protest : Cognitive Illiberalism and the Speech-Conduct Distinction, 64 Stan. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2012)

84 Experimental Conditions Recruitment Center ConditionAbortion Clinic Condition source: Dan M. Kahan, David A. Hoffman, Donald Braman, Danieli Evans & Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, They Saw a Protest : Cognitive Illiberalism and the Speech-Conduct Distinction, 64 Stan. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2011)

85 Pct. Agree Protestors blocked Screamed in face Pedestrians just not want to listen Police just annoyed

86 Cultural Cognition Cat Scan Experiment Go to


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