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Mershon Center for International Security Studies


John Mueller, Ralph D. Mershon Senior Research Scientist at the Mershon Center, has won the Philip E. Converse Book Award for his book War, Presidents and Public Opinion (Wiley, 1973).

Given by the Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior organized section of the American Political Science Association, the Converse Award recognizes an outstanding book in the field published at least five years previous for lasting influence on public opinion research.

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Erik Nisbet

Simply communicating the benefits is not enough

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Some open-minded people can be swayed to support government intervention on climate change – but only if they are presented with both the benefits and the costs, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that those who were open-minded didn’t change their view if they heard arguments for only one side of the issue.

People who are relatively more closed-minded did not change their mind regardless of the messages they received, or what their original views were. There was also no evidence of open-minded people becoming less supportive of government intervention, no matter if they heard both sides of the argument or only one.

“Climate change is such a polarizing issue that has received so much attention, so it is very difficult to influence people to change their opinion,” said Mershon affiliate Erik Nisbet, co-author of the study and assistant professor of communication at The Ohio State University.  “But our results suggest there are ways to approach the issue that may have some impact, at least for a segment of the public.”

The study appears online in the Journal of Communication and will be published in a future print edition.

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Former Mershon Center affiliate Ted Hopf has received the Robert L. Jervis and Paul W. Schroeder Best Book Award for Reconstructing the Cold War: The Early Years, 1945-1958. Presented by the American Political Science Association, the Jervis-Schroeder Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the study of international relations and history.

The pool of nominations for the 2013 award was unusually large (75 titles) and exceptionally strong. The award judges (Michael Barnett [chair], Karen Alter, and Andrew Yeo) were unanimous in their praise for Reconstructing the Cold War, noting that "The committee is especially impressed by Hopf’s deep knowledge of time and place, thoughtful employment of cultural analysis, and extensive use of archives and primary materials. A consequence of this deep cultural and historical reading is that Hopf is able to speak to the specifics of Soviet history at this moment, and use that moment to speak to broader debates in international relations theory."

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Mershon affiliate Nisbete Erik Nisbet, assistant professor of communication, has won a 2013 Engagement Impact Grant from the Office of Outreach and Engagement at The Ohio State University. The $45,000 grant will support his project "Health Science Frontiers: Advancing Public Engagement."

As the health sciences advance at a swift pace the question arises about whether the public has the requisite community resources to make informed decisions about their health. At the same time, to be effective communicators, health experts must engage directly with the public to fully understand local community needs.

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