Science Curiosity and Political Information Processing

Dan M. Kahan, Asheley Landrum, Katie Carpenter, Laura Helft, Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


This article describes evidence suggesting that science curiosity counteracts politically biased information processing. This finding is in tension with two bodies of research. The first casts doubt on the existence of “curiosity” as a measurable disposition. The other suggests that individual differences in cognition related to science comprehension—of which science curiosity, if it exists, would presumably be one—do not mitigate politically biased information processing but instead aggravate it. The article describes the scale-development strategy employed to overcome the problems associated with measuring science curiosity. It also reports data, observational and experimental, showing that science curiosity promotes open-minded engagement with information that is contrary to individuals’ political predispositions. We conclude by identifying a series of concrete research questions posed by these results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-199
Number of pages21
JournalPolitical Psychology
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • motivated reasoning
  • polarization
  • science curiosity


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