Science Curiosity and Political Information Processing

Monday, August 1, 2016
Resource Type:
Research Products
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Public Programs, Exhibitions, Informal/Formal Connections
Administration/Leadership/Policymakers | General Public | Scientists
General STEM | History/policy/law | Social science and psychology
Yale University, Annenberg Public Policy Center, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Pennsylvania
Description or Abstract: 

This paper describes evidence suggesting that science curiosity counteracts politically biased information processing. This finding is in tension with two bodies of research. The first casts doubt on the existence of “curiosity” as a measurable disposition. The other suggests that individual differences in cognition related to science comprehension - of which science curiosity, if it exists, would presumably be one - do not mitigate politically biased information processing but instead aggravate it. The paper describes the scale-development strategy employed to overcome the problems associated with measuring science curiosity. It also reports data, observational and experimental, showing that science curiosity promotes open-minded engagement with information that is contrary to individuals’ political predispositions. The paper concludes by identifying a series of concrete research questions posed by these results.

Publication Name: 
Yale Law & Economics Research Paper No. 561

Team Members

Dan KahanDan KahanAuthor
Asheley LandrumAsheley LandrumAuthor
Katie CarpenterKatie CarpenterAuthor
Laura HelftLaura HelftAuthor
Kathleen Hall JamiesonKathleen Hall JamiesonAuthor

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