Comparing cultural theory and cultural cognition theory survey measures to each other and as explanations for judged risk
Author ORCID Identifier
Journal of Risk Research
Different approaches to operationalizing the cultural theory (CT) developed by Douglas, Thompson, Wildavsky, and others in survey research on risk perceptions are rarely compared, never for the same people outside of China. We compare for US respondents the construct validity of cultural worldview measures developed by Jenkins-Smith and colleagues—including both indices of items refining the Wildavsky and Dake approach, and short paragraphs (cultural ‘statements’)—to those developed by Kahan and colleagues based on cultural cognition theory (CCT). Correlational analyses reveal moderate convergent and discriminant validity among these measures, and along with regression analyses controlling for demographic variables similarly moderate predictive validity across measures for judgments of personal risk for 10 hazards. CT statements better discriminate between individualists and hierarchists, and CT indices explain more variance in judged risk (predictive validity) when controlling for demographic variables in regression analyses, but no cultural measure was consistently more predictive for the expected sign of regression coefficients. We discuss theoretical and methodological implications of our findings to foster further scholarly comparisons and improvements in these survey-based cultural approaches to explaining risk judgments.
cultural cognition theory, Cultural theory, culture, risk perception, worldviews
Johnson, Branden B. and Swedlow, Brendon, "Comparing cultural theory and cultural cognition theory survey measures to each other and as explanations for judged risk" (2020). NIU Bibliography. 570.
Department of Political Science