In a 2010 study published in the Journal of Risk Research, Dan M. Kahan and his colleagues set out to see how people's worldviews affect how they interpret expert information. After using a survey to put study participants in one of two camps—those who believed more in social hierarchy and individualism, and those who believed more in egalitarianism and communitarianism—the researchers asked participants a series of questions about hot-button topics. In the first experiment, subjects had to decide whether most scientists agreed with statements such as "Human activity is causing global warming" and "Permitting adults without criminal records or histories of mental illness to carry concealed handguns in public decreases violent crime."
In the second experiment, the participants read a description and book excerpt from a fictional expert on a particular topic. All subjects saw the same description of the expert (he earned a Ph.D. in the field in question from an elite university, and now taught at another) but the expert's stance on the topic changed from participant to particant. After reading, participants were asked to decide whether the author was a "trustworthy and knowledgeable expert" on the issue in question.