An international research project exploring the conditions under which people trust expertise used for shaping public policy
In democratic societies, trust in the provenance and justification of policy measures are essential for their implementation. The rise of populist politics with its anti-elitist mantra has brought the trustworthiness of experts and their areas of expertise into question.
PEriTiA brings together philosophers, social and natural scientists, policy experts, ethicists, psychologists, media specialists and civil society organisations to conduct a comprehensive multi-disciplinary investigation of trust in and the trustworthiness of policy related expert opinion.
The key hypothesis explored conceptually and tested empirically is that affective and normative factors play a central role in decisions to trust, even in cases where judgements of trustworthiness may seem to be grounded in epistemic considerations, such as professional reputation, reliability and objectivity.
An important feature of the project is the application of its theoretical and empirical findings to active attempts at establishing trust, where warranted, between the general public and actors with a central role in the decision-making processes of governance. To this end, the project examines the case of trust in climate science to test its theoretical and empirical findings. Ultimately, it seeks to design and provide practical tools and indicators which can be applied to measure and establish the trustworthiness of the agents and institutions involved in social and political decision making.
Programme of Action
The investigation is carried out in three – theoretical, empirical and ameliorative – phases with the goal of illuminating a topic that has been the subject of much political commentary and media debate in recent years.
Phase 1 Theoretical
• Trust and the Conditions for Successful Policy Advice Mechanisms
• Trust in a Changing Media Landscape
• The Ethics of Trust
• Scientific Reputation and Trust
• The Psychology of Trust
Phase 2: Empirical
• Data Collection through Surveys and Analysis of Existing Data on Trust: Ireland, UK, Norway, Germany, Poland, Italy, France
• Experimental Measures of Trust
• Behavioural Determinants of Trust and Distrust
Phase 3: Recommendations and outreach
• Behavioural Tools for Building Trust
• Citizen Fora
• Essay Competition “European Youth on Trust”
• Policy Recommendations and Dialogue with Policy Makers