This research experiment investigated whether the nuclear taboo was more influential on participants when considering the use of nuclear weapons, or if the participants were influenced more by cost-benefit analysis when deciding to use nuclear weapons. In this study, we presented a fake military scenario to respondents with a total of eight different versions that either did or did not include: genocide, high casualties, and nuclear weapons. Participants could then select whether they agreed, disagreed, or needed more information as there answer. Breaking respondents down into these three groups, the results show that for all three respondent groups the independent variable with the strongest effect was nuclear weapons. The weakest variable was high casualty rates, while genocide had the second strongest effect on the respondents' decision-making process. These findings indicate that respondents were affected by the nuclear taboo and were less likely to cost-benefit analyze when giving their answer to the military proposal.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Kennedy, Cody Marlin, "The Nuclear Taboo: A Real Effect on Public Perception?" (2019). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 544.