Title

Are Implicit Associations With Nuclear Energy Related to Policy Support? Evidence From the Brief Implicit Association Test

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-11-2014

Abstract

Nuclear energy has long been assumed to elicit automatic, negative reactions. However, little research has investigated implicit associations with nuclear energy. To assess implicit and explicit attitudes toward nuclear energy, 704 U.S. consumer panelists completed a multicategory Implicit Association Test (IAT) and an Internet survey. Results showed that participants held negative implicit attitudes toward nuclear energy (vs. wind and natural gas) and positive implicit attitudes toward nuclear energy (vs. coal). Strong opponents of nuclear policy implicitly preferred natural gas over nuclear and implicitly disliked nuclear as much as coal. Strong supporters of nuclear policy implicitly preferred nuclear over coal, and showed no implicit preference for gas over nuclear. Implicit attitudes toward nuclear energy (vs. gas and wind) were related to policy support when controlling for explicit attitudes and demographics. Understanding both implicit and explicit nuclear attitudes is important for decision makers as the United States charts its energy future.

Publication Title

Environment and Behavior

Volume

46

Issue

7

First Page

898

Last Page

923

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1177/0013916513480861

ISSN

00139165

E-ISSN

1552390X

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