Cultural Cognition of Nanotechnology (and a Variety of Other) Risks

Monday, February 23, 2009
1605 Elings Hall
Dan Kahan


Dan Kahan is the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law at Yale Law
School. In addition to risk perception, his areas of research include
criminal law and evidence. He is also one of the instructors in Yale Law
School’s Supreme Court Advocacy Clinic. Prior to coming to Yale in
1999, Professor Kahan was on the faculty of the University of Chicago
Law School. He served as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall,
of the U.S. Supreme Court and to Judge Harry Edwards of the United
States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He received his B.A. from
Middlebury College and his J.D. from Harvard University.


The cultural cognition of risk refers to the tendency of
individuals to conform their perceptions of the risks of putatively
dangerous activities to their cultural evaluations of those activities.
I will describe the theory behind cultural cognition and the methods
researchers affiliated with the Cultural Cognition Project have used to
test it. Findings relating to perceptions of nanotechnology risks will be
prominently featured.