American public opinion on climate change

Chen, C., MacInnis, B., Waltman, M., & Krosnick, J. A. (2021). Public opinion on climate change in the USA: to what extent can it be nudged by questionnaire design features? Climatic Change, 167(3), 1-18. https://10.1007/s10584-021-03194-x [PDF]

Through an examination of 110 experiments, we found that survey results on climate change issues are relatively robust and not significantly influenced by trivial changes in survey design, suggesting that policymakers can confidently consider public opinion on climate change when crafting legislation.

Chen, C., & Krosnick, J. A. (Under review). Perceptions of Global Warming as a Serious Problem for the Nation: Testing Propositions of the ACE Model. [Talk Slides]

Cross-lagged panel regressions and mediational analyses of repeated cross-sectional surveys conducted between 1997 and 2020 showed that changes in national seriousness judgments were most often predicted by beliefs about whether global warming has been caused by human activity.

Chen, C., & Krosnick, J. A. (In prep). Do People Lie When Reporting Their Beliefs on Global Warming and Support for Green Policies? A Test Using the Item Count Technique. [Poster for Study 1]

Study 1 compared responses obtained from traditional direct questions and the ICT and found that Democrats over-reported their endorsement of the existence of Global Warming and support for green policies. However, when Study 2 modified the wording of the ICT prompt, the significant results obtained in Study 1 disappeared. Studies 3 and 4 are being conducted to investigate the question wording effects.

Interventions to bolster COVID-19 vaccination

Chen, C., Cui, Z., & Chen, Y. (2023). A randomized controlled trial of an information intervention to bolster COVID-19 vaccination intention among people with purity concerns. Health Psychology, 42(9), 686–697. [PDF]

Drawing upon the Moral Foundations Theory, we designed two information interventions (Study 1: N = 566; Study 2: N = 637) to persuade people with purity concerns to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Both messages significantly increased attitudes toward vaccines and intentions to get vaccinated.

Chen, C., Neufeld, N., & Krosnick, J. A. (In prep). The Impact of Trump Rhetoric on Attitudes Toward COVID-19 Vaccines and Vaccination Intention: A Randomized Controlled Trial. [Talk Slides]

We examined the effects of a one-minute video compilation featuring Trump endorsing and taking credit for COVID-19 vaccines on vaccination attitudes an intention (N = 1609). Contrary to expectations, the video did not improve attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccines or intentions to get vaccinated either on the population level or among unvaccinated Republicans. However, it significantly increased the tendency to vote for Trump, both as a Republican nominee and as an Independent candidate, on the population level.

Human perceptions of science

Chen, C., Li, X., Huang, P., & Cohen, G. L. (In prep). When Science Puts on a Human Face: The Trade-off between Knowledge and Utility in Public Perception of Science.

Study 1 revealed that “science” is principally associated with its knowledge value over its utility value in modern American culture. Study 2 found that when the knowledge value (relative to the utility) of scientific research is underscored, it is perceived as less interesting, less curiosity-inducing, and less useful. However, emphasizing the utility of scientific research led participants to perceive it to be less scientific. Study 3 found that adding a single additional sentence highlighting the utility value of a study could increase its perceived importance. This conclusion is corroborated by both the general public and professors with a STEM background from top-tier American universities.

Psychological biases

Gauthier, L. D., Krosnick, J. A., Holbrook, A. L., Chen, C., & Visser, P. S. (Under review). The “False” Consensus “Effect”: Projection or Conformity?

Nearly all evidence of the False Consensus Effect (FCE) is a positive association between people’s reports of their own attitudes and their perceptions of the proportion of other people who hold the same attitude. This correlation has routinely been presumed to have resulted from projection of people’s own attitudes onto others. Four studies replicated the expected positive correlation between participants’ own attitudes and their perceptions of others’ attitudes, but these studies provide little evidence supporting the assumption that the former caused the latter.

Deliberative Polling

Chen, C., Krosnick, J. A. & Fishkin, J. S. (In prep). The Impact of Deliberative Polling on Opinionation and Knowledge Acquisition. [Poster]

Through analyses of a nationally representative deliberative poll conducted in 2019 (N pre-deliberation = 3,842; N post-deliberation = 1,367), the current study explored whether changes in policy preferences were mediated by knowledge gains on those issues. In other words, the current study investigated the extent to which changes in policy preferences, if any, can be attributed to increases in knowledge of these policies.