A study conducted by Yale University researchers found that as members of the public become more science literate and numerate, individuals belonging to opposing cultural groups become even more divided on the risks that climate change poses. The researchers are associated with the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School and involved a nationally representative sample of 1500 U.S. adults.
"The aim of the study was to test two hypotheses," said Dan Kahan, a Professor at Yale Law School and a member of the research team. "The first attributes political controversy over climate change to the public's limited ability to comprehend science, and the second, to opposing sets of cultural values. The findings supported the second hypothesis and not the first," he said. According to Kahan, the study suggests the need for science communication strategies that reflect a more sophisticated understanding of cultural values.