Cultural Cognition as a Conception of the Cultural Theory of Risk

  • Dan M. KahanEmail author


Cultural cognition is one of a variety of approaches designed to empirically test the “cultural theory of risk” set forth by Mary Douglas and Aaron Wildavsky. The basic premise of cultural theory is that individuals can be expected to form beliefs about societal dangers that reflect and reinforce their commitments to one or another idealized form of social ordering. Among the features of cultural cognition that make it distinctive among conceptions of cultural theory are its approach to measuring individuals’ cultural worldviews; its empirical investigation of the social psychological mechanisms that connect individuals’ risk perceptions to their cultural worldviews; and its practical goal of enabling self-conscious management of popular risk perceptions in the interest of promoting scientifically sound public policies that are congenial to persons of diverse outlooks.


Risk Perception Cultural Cognition Cultural Predisposition Cultural Theory Collective Management 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Research described herein was supported by the National Science Foundation (Grants SES-0621840 & SES-0242106) and the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund at Yale Law School.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale Law SchoolYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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