How frames can undermine support for scientific adaptations: Politicization and the status-quo bias

Toby Bolsen, James N. Druckman*, Fay Lomax Cook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

The politicization of science is a phenomenon that has sparked a great deal of attention in recent years. Nonetheless, few studies directly explore how frames that highlight politicization affect public support for scientific adaptations. We study how frames that highlight politicization affect support for using nuclear power, and test our hypotheses with two experiments. We find, in one study, that politicizing science reduces support for nuclear power and renders arguments about the environmental benefits of nuclear energy invalid, regardless of whether there is a reference to consensus scientific evidence. We find, in a second study, that reference to the potential health risks associated with using nuclear power also decreases support in the presence of additional frames that highlight either science's progress or its politicization. In the end, our findings suggest that a status-quo bias prevails that, under some circumstances, can serve as a significant impediment to generating public support for scientific innovations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalPublic Opinion Quarterly
Volume78
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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