The Climate Briefing Series is made
possible, in part, by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Paleoclimate
Public Perceptions of Climate Change
Speaker: Jon Krosnick
Summary of Remarks: In recent months, the public debate about climate change has focused on three major themes: (1) email-gate, (2) the apparent decline in public belief in the existence of climate change, and (3) suggestions about how choices of language (e.g., "climate change" vs. "global warming") can influence the degree to which the public is concerned about this issue. In this talk, I will review the newest work done by my research team at Stanford analyzing national surveys we have conducted during the last decade. I will illustrate how public concern about and belief in the existence of global warming increased during the years prior to 2007 and declined after that. 2007 was a special year for this issue in many ways, and our findings show how the public has reacted to news coverage and events in forming and changing their opinions about a wide range of climate-change related issues, especially focused on the policy solutions that Americans support and oppose.
Jon A. Krosnick is Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences and professor of communication, political science, and psychology at Stanford University.
A leading international authority on questionnaire design and survey research methods, Professor Krosnick has taught courses for professionals on survey methods for 25 years around the world and has served as a methodology consultant to government agencies, commercial firms, and academic scholars. His books include “Introduction to Survey Research, Polling, and Data Analysis” and "The Handbook of Questionnaire Design" (forthcoming, Oxford University Press), which reviews 100 years of research on how different ways of asking questions can yield different answers from survey respondents and on how to design questions to measure most accurately. His recent research has focused on how other aspects of survey methodology (e.g., collecting data by interviewing face-to-face vs. by telephone or on paper questionnaires) can be optimized to maximize accuracy.
Dr. Krosnick is also a world-recognized expert on the psychology of attitudes, especially in the area of politics. He is co-principal investigator of the American National Election Study, the nation's preeminent academic research project exploring voter decision-making and political campaign effects. For 30 years, Dr. Krosnick has studied how the American public's political attitudes are formed, change, and shape thinking and action. His publication explore the causes of people decisions about whether to vote, for whom to vote, whether to approve of the President’s performance, whether to take action to influence government policy-making on a specific issue, and much more.
Dr. Krosnick's scholarship has been recognized with the Phillip Brickman Memorial Prize, the Pi Sigma Alpha Award, the Erik Erikson Early Career Award for Excellence and Creativity, a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and membership as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
As an expert witness in court, he has testified evaluating the quality of surveys presented as evidence by opposing counsel and has conducted original survey research to inform courts in cases involving unreimbursed expenses, uncompensated overtime work, exempt/non-exempt misclassification, patent/trademark violation, health effects of accidents, consequences of being misinformed about the results of standardized academic tests, economic valuation of environmental damage, change of venue motions, and other topics.
At Stanford, Dr. Krosnick directs the Political Psychology Research Group (PPRG). PPRG is a cross-disciplinary team of scholars who conduct empirical studies of the psychology of political behavior and studies seeking to optimize research methodology for studying political psychology. The group's studies employ a wide range of research methods, including surveys, experiments, and content analysis, and the group often conducts collaborative research studies with leading news media organizations, including ABC News, The Associated Press, the Washington Post, and Time Magazine. Support for the group's work has come from U.S. Government agencies (e.g., the National Science Foundation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics), private foundations (e.g., the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), and Institutes at Stanford (e.g., the Woods Institute for the Environment). Dr. Krosnick also directs the Summer Institute in Political Psychology, an annual event that brings 60 students and professions from around the world to Stanford for intensive training in political psychology theory and methods.
In his spare time, Dr. Krosnick plays drums with a contemporary jazz group called Charged Particles that has released two CD's internationally and tours across the U.S. and abroad (www.chargedparticles.com).