Arnold Kling  

Ron Bailey on Confirmation Bias

Stating The Problem: First At... Signaling Versus Educational I...

He wrote,

Egalitarian/Communitarians, who are always eager to rein in what they regard as the unjust excesses of technological progress and commerce, see carbon rationing as an effective tool to achieve that goal. Not surprisingly, Hierarchical/Individualists are highly suspicious when carbon rationing proposals just happen to fit the cultural values and policy preferences of Egalitarian/Communitarians.

It turns out that Bailey has written several articles on the Yale Cultural Cognition Project. In addition to the one linked above, see here and here.

These studies confirm reinforce the views of Jonathan Haidt in The Righteous Mind. Bailey and I confirm reinforced one another's beliefs that confirmation bias is important.

He and I were talking last night at a memorial event for William Niskanen, Cato's long-time chairman. I also got to speak briefly with Kathy Washburn Niskanen, saying that I hope that some of Bill's dignity and integrity rubbed off on me by being around him.

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COMMENTS (3 to date)
The other Tim writes:

In what bizarre philosophy can hierarchicalists and individualists be lumped together like that? Has it escaped someone's notice that hierarchy can only exist in a community? An individual treated individually cannot be hierarchically ranked relative to himself.

NW writes:

I can't find data on what % of conservative scientists believe in GCC vs. liberals.

Anyone have any idea?

Steve Skutnik writes:

There's an interesting flip side to the Yale Cultural Cognition Project studies as well, however - framing matters. For example, when increasing the use of nuclear energy is presented as a solution to climate change, as opposed to government action, individualists tend to become more receptive to risks of climate change.

I don't think one simply has to shrug their shoulders at confirmation bias and leave it at that - it means that speakers need to engage with the values of their audiences they intend to persuade. In the case of climate change, it might mean presenting the issue less with a predilection toward central regulation and more toward technological solutions.

Incidentally, this is something I recently covered over at my own blog, from the perspective of risk perception and nuclear energy.

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