Achieving cognitive closure about CO2 storage
On January 21, 2015 Charlotte Koot will defend her PhD thesis entitled "Making up your mind about a complex technology: An investigation into factors that help or hinder the achievement of cognitive closure about CCS" at Leiden University.
Many of the technological innovations introduced into modern society have a clear impact on people’s daily lives. As a consequence, public opinion is often a decisive factor for the successful implementation of a complex technology. The research in this dissertation examines psychological factors that affect the ease with which people form a definite of view, or achieve cognitive closure, on complex technologies. Attitudes on which people have achieved cognitive closure are of interest as they are more stable and better predictors of people’s behavior (e.g., protesting a complex technology) than open, unfinished attitudes. The studies in this dissertation focus on attitude formation about the complex technology of carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS). Results show that the extent to which people feel able to form an attitude about a complex technology affects the level of cognitive closure they actually achieve. People’s ability to achieve cognitive closure depends on the risks they perceive and negative emotions they experience in association with the technology as well as on characteristics of communication about the technology. Together these findings add to the understanding of public opinion regarding the implementation of complex technologies and provide novel insight into the mechanisms underlying the achievement of cognitive closure.