Polarized Science

Previous research suggests that when individuals encounter new information, they interpret it through perceptual ‘filters’ of prior beliefs, relevant social identities, and messenger credibility. In short, evaluations are not based solely on message accuracy, but also on the extent to which the message and messenger are amenable to the values of one's social groups. Here, we use the release of Pope Francis's 2015 encyclical as the context for a natural experiment to examine the role of prior values in climate change cognition.