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Karen Akerlof

George Mason University
Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy
Karen Akerlof is a senior research scientist at Decision Research and affiliate faculty at George Mason University. She studies the ways in which communities interpret scientific information and bring experience, values, and local knowledge to bear in making decisions. She explores these, and other factors, that affect communication and use of science, whether at the level of local communities or national legislatures. She has evaluated the effects of deliberation on public risk perceptions and policy preferences, conducted media analyses of science reporting, explored the role of experience and risk perception, and investigated the association of physical and social vulnerability with perceived risk. She has served as a research assistant professor with the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, adjunct faculty with the Johns Hopkins Energy Policy and Climate Program, and as an American Geophysical Union congressional science fellow in the U.S. Senate. She employs mixed methods, conducting not only surveys and experiments, but in-depth interviews and content analyses.