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Conduct

2012

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"They Saw A Protest": Cognitive Illiberalism And The Speech-Conduct Distinction, Dan M. Kahan, David A. Hoffman, Donald Braman, Danieli Evans, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski Jan 2012

"They Saw A Protest": Cognitive Illiberalism And The Speech-Conduct Distinction, Dan M. Kahan, David A. Hoffman, Donald Braman, Danieli Evans, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski

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“Cultural cognition” refers to the unconscious influence of individuals’ group commitments on their perceptions of legally consequential facts. We conducted an experiment to assess the impact of cultural cognition on perceptions of facts relevant to distinguishing constitutionally protected “speech” from unprotected “conduct.” Study subjects viewed a video of a political demonstration. Half the subjects believed that the demonstrators were protesting abortion outside of an abortion clinic, and the other half that the demonstrators were protesting the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy outside a campus recruitment facility. Subjects of opposing cultural outlooks who were assigned to the same experimental condition …