People trust experts based on the information they receive from them and others and the level of trustworthiness they ascribe to their speech and testimony. In this process, emotional aspects, as well as the social and political context, may play a central role on how people place or refuse trust in decision-makers. This affective dimension may apply even in cases where people judge the trustworthiness of an expert based on their professional reputation, reliability and objectivity.
PERITIA explores this key hypothesis and its implications theoretically from different disciplinary perspectives in the first phase of the project. These foundations are further developed empirically in the second stage. Among other actions, researchers will conduct a series of surveys across European countries, comparative research on science advice systems, online interactive behavioural experiments, and in-lab cognitive research.
In the final stage, PERITIA will test its findings on the case of climate change with a series of citizen engagement actions. These citizen fora will be organised across Europe following the format of “face-to-face” encounters between experts and the public on the topic of climate change. The project thus goes beyond research by involving other societal actors and plans other actions to engage researchers, policymakers and citizens such as a series of podcasts and a youth essay competition.