A124. Gustafson, A. & Rice, R. E. (2016).  Cumulative advantage in sustainability commnication: Unintended implications of the knowledge deficit model.  Science Communication, 38(6), 800-811.


The knowledge deficit model proposes that more information increases public knowledge levels about a given topic, and thus improved related attitudes and practice. However, research critiques the varying and limited ability of the deficit model. Further, the deficit model can also produce an unintended cumulative advantage system: growing inequality between and within the knowledge-attitude-practice (KAP) gap of individuals and groups due to a wide variety of possible moderators. Over time, these effects can exacerbate gaps between individuals’ and groups’ levels of KAP. We discuss the negative effects of increasing inequality in sustainability KAP, and provide recommendations for future research.

Click here for PDF copy of publication