Marcus Mann is an assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University. His overarching interest is in how different and sometimes conflicting cultural knowledge authorities affect individuals’ perceptions of science, politics, religion, and reality more generally. He has studied this general question in the context of atheist social movements, polarization in political media, and attitudes toward science and scientists. Currently he is working on several projects related to political media diets and susceptibility to political disinformation.
PhD in Sociology, 2019
MA in Sociology, 2017
MA in Religious Studies, 2013
BA in English Studies, 2008
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
The decline in trust in the scientific community in the United States among political conservatives has been well established. But this observation is complicated by remarkably positive and stable attitudes toward scientific research itself. What explains the persistence of positive belief in science in the midst of such dramatic change? By leveraging research on the performativity of conservative identity, we argue that conservative scientific institutions have manufactured a scientific cultural repertoire that enables participation in this highly valued epistemological space while undermining scientific authority perceived as politically biased. We test our hypothesized link between conservative identity and scientific perceptions using panel data from the General Social Survey. We find that those with stable conservative identities hold more positive attitudes toward scientific research while simultaneously holding more negative attitudes towards the scientific community compared to those who switch to and from conservative political identities. These findings support a theory of a conservative scientific repertoire that is learned over time and that helps orient political conservatives in scientific debates that have political repercussions. Implications of these findings are discussed for researchers interested in the cultural differentiation of scientific authority and for stakeholders in scientific communication and its public policy.
Research shows that observers use negative stereotypes to construe victims of misfortune as responsible for their own fate. In two experiments, we test three situational characteristics’ (injustice, scale, and control) effects on observers’ tendency to use negative stereotypes when communicating stories about others’ economic hardship. Study 1 examines predictions, based on social psychological theories of equity and justice, that stereotype use should increase in response to accounts of misfortune that are the result of unjust under-reward. Contrary to predictions, Study 1 found that participants used more stereotypes when retelling accounts in which the protagonist’s misfortune was not the result of unjust rewards. Study 2 investigates competing predictions to Study 1, based on research regarding how portrayals of scale (whether the misfortune affects one vs. many) and control (whether another actor has control over the misfortune of another) affect perceptions of misfortune. Study 2 results indicate that stereotype use increases in response to accounts of large-scale, uncontrollable misfortune. Together, these studies suggest that qualities of portrayals (such as scale and control) are crucial in understanding stereotype transmission processes above and beyond the role of perceptions of injustice (i.e., the unequal distribution of rewards).