Prof Michael D Cobb

Picture of Prof Michael D Cobb

Associate Professor

Biography

Associate Professor of Political Science in the School of International and Public Affairs (SPIA).

Teaching and Research Interests

My current research interests include studying the antecedents and consequences of misinformation about politics, the effects of public deliberation about science policy, and public opinion about scandals, trade policies, race, and the use of military force abroad. I also study public perceptions about science and technology, such as public attitudes about nanotechnologies for human enhancements and transgenic techniques for managing pests like mosquitoes.

 

Projects

For a political scientist, I have unusually diverse topical interests. For example, I directed the first nationally representative surveys about nanotechnology (http://www.springerlink.com/content/q1026n34273r6662/) and the first US survey about genetic engineering of mosquitoes (http://news.ncsu.edu/releases/wms-cobb-mosquitoes/).

I recently started a blog at WRAL, a local TV news station in Raleigh, about polling, called, "Margin of Error":

http://www.wral.com/news/political/blog/13500086/

I also teach students how to become better consumers of survey data, and to produce it via "The PackPoll." My students and I routinely survey the NCSU community: packpoll.com

Lastly, I  am currently working on understanding how people understand information when it is uncertain and the probabilites are described differently, either in numeric or verbal statements. This project is supported by a grant from the Labratory for Anayltic Sciences: http://ncsu-las.org

Funded Research

2013-2015. ($108,993). Co-PI (W/William Boettcher), Laboratory for Analytic Sciences (LAS).

2012-2014. ($25,000). Sub-Thrust Leader for Social Implications/Risk Perceptions (Veena Misra, PI), NSF-NERC: Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST).

2011-2016. ($7,000). Faculty Associate, NSF-IGERT (Fred Gould, PI). Genetic Engineering and Society: The Case of Transgenic Pests." National Science Foundation Grant No. DGE-1068676.

2007. ($231,421). Co-PI (W/Patrick Hamlett), NSF grant # 0531194. “A National-Scale Citizens' Technology Forum on Nanotechnology.”

2004. ($130,685). Co-PI (W/Patrick Hamlet and Jane Macoubrie), NSF Grant #535391. “Public Information, Development Scenarios, and Public Deliberation in Nanoscience and Technology Policy.”

2003. ($325,000). Co-PI (W/Patrick Hamlett and Jane Macoubrie). NSF Grant #0242994. "Citizen Learning, Deliberation, and Reasoning in Internet-Mediated Technology Policy Forums.”

 

Extension and Community Engagement

Some examples: 

Nano Ethics Session. Dr. Jesse Jur, Assistant Professor of Textile Engineering, Chemistry & Science, and Dr. Michael Cobb, Associate Professor of Political Science, led the session "Ethics of Nanotechnology for Human Enhancement" at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics's (NCSSM) 15th annual Ethics and Leadership Conference. The program was designed for high school students throughout the state, and Drs. Jur and Cobb led two sessions of 20 to 25 students each. (OCt 1, 2012)

Periodic Tables, Durham Science Museum: “Genetic Engineering & Society: Is the world ready for transgenic mosquitoes?”  Speakers: Dr. Fred Gould, William Neal Reynolds Professor of Agriculture, North Carolina State University and Dr. Michael Cobb, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, North Carolina State University (May 8, 2012)

Publications

Cobb, Michael D., and Andrew Taylor. 2015. “An Absence of Malice: The Limited Utility of Campaigning Against Party Corruption.” American Politics Research, 43(6): 923-951.

Cobb, Michael D., and Andrew Taylor. 2014. “Paging Congressional Democrats: It was the Immorality, Stupid.” PS: Political Science and Politics, 47(2): 351-356.

Cobb, Michael D., Brendan Nyhan, and Jason Reifler. 2013. “Beliefs Don’t Always Persevere: How political figures are punished when positive information about them is discredited.” Political Psychology, 34(3): 307-326.

Cobb, Michael D., and Gretchen Gano. 2012. “Evaluating Structured Deliberations about Emerging Technologies: Post-process participant evaluation.” International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society, 10: 96-110.

Toumey, Chris, and Michael D. Cobb. 2012. “Nano In-Sight: Epistemology, Aesthetics, Comparisons, and Public Perceptions of Images of Nanoscale Objects.” Leonardo. 45(5): OnLine First at: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/LEON_a_00444

Cobb, Michael D. 2011. “Creating Informed Public Opinion: Citizen Deliberation about Nanotechnologies for Human Enhancements.” Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 13(4): 1533-1548.

Boettcher, William, and Michael D. Cobb. 2009. “Don’t Let them Die in Vain: Casualty Frames and Public Tolerance for Escalating Commitment in Iraq.” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 53(5): 677-697.

Cobb, Michael D., and William Boettcher. 2007. “Ambivalent Sexism and Misogynistic Rap Music: Does Exposure to Eminem Increase Sexism?” Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 37(12): 3025-42. 

Boettcher, William, and Michael D. Cobb. 2006. “Echoes of Vietnam?: Casualty Framing and Public Perceptions of Success and Failure in Iraq.” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 50: 831-54.

Hamlet, Patrick, and Michael D. Cobb. 2006. “Potential Solutions to Public Deliberation Problems: Structured Deliberations and Polarization Cascades.” Policy Studies Journal, 34: 629-649.

Cobb, Michael D. 2005. “Framing Effects on Public Opinion about Nanotechnology.” Science Communication, 27: 221-239.

Cobb, Michael D., and Jane Macoubrie. 2004. “Public Perceptions about Nanotechnology: Risks, Benefits and Trust.” Journal of Nanoparticle Research 6: 395-405. 

Cobb, Michael D., and Jeffery A. Jenkins. 2001. “Examining the Linkage between Descriptive and Substantive Representation: Race and the Representation of Blacks’ Interests during Reconstruction.” Political Research Quarterly 54:181-204.

Kuklinski, James H., Michael D. Cobb, and Martin Gilens. 1997. “Racial Attitudes and the New South.” Journal of Politics 59: 323-349.

Cobb, Michael D., and James H. Kuklinksi. 1997. “Changing Minds: Political Arguments and Political Persuasion.” American Journal of Political Science 41: 88-121.

Additional Publications

Cobb, Michael D. and Mark T. Nance. 2011. “The Consequences of Measuring Non-Attitudes about Foreign Trade Preferences.” Survey Practice, December: www.surveypractice.org.

Toumey, C., J. Besley, M. Blanchard, M. Brown, M. Cobb, E.H. Ecklund, M. Glass, T.M. Guterbock, A.E. Kelly, & B. Lewenstein. 2010. “Science in the Service of Citizens & Consumers: The NSF Workshop on Public Knowledge of Science.”  Report to NSF, 4 November 2010. Last retrieved at http://nano.sc.edu/resources/publications.aspx

Chapters in Books

Toumey, Chris, John Besley, Margaret Blanchard, Mark Brown, Michael Cobb, Elaine H. Ecklund, Margaret Glass, Thomas Guterbock, Eamonm, Kelly, and Bruce Lewenstein. 2013. “Rethinking Public Knowledge of Science: The Process of Crafting the Concept of Science in the Service of Citizens & Consumers,” in Knowledges in Publics, edited by L. Locke & S. Locke. Newcastle on Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Cobb, Michael D. 2013. “Deliberative Fears: Citizen Deliberation about Science in a National Consensus Conference (pp.115-132).” In Kieran O'Doherty and Edna Einsiedel (Eds.), Thinking through technology with publics. University of British Columbia Press.

Wickson, Fern, Michael D. Cobb & Patrick Hamlet. 2012. “The US National Citizens' Technology Forum on Human Enhancement: An experiment in Deliberation Across a Nation.” In Pal Strandbakken, Gerd Scholl, and Eivind Stø (Eds.), Consumers and Nanotechnology: Deliberative Processes and Methodologies. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group: Boca Rotan, FL.

Cobb, Michael D. 2012. "Lessons Learned from the First National Citizens' Technology Conference." Pp. 93-103 in Susanna Hornig Priest, Nanotechnology and the Public: Risk Perception and Risk Communication. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press (Taylor and Francis).

Hays, Sean, Clark A. Miller, and Michael D Cobb.  2012. “2008 National Nanotechnology Survey on Enhancement Results Overview.”  In S. Hays, CA Miller, J. Robert & I. Bennett (eds.), The Yearbook of Nanotechnology, Volume III: Nanotechnology, the Brain, and the Future, Eds. Sean Hays, Jason Scott Robert, Clark A. Miller, and Ira Bennett. New York: Springer Business and Science Media.

Hamlett, Patrick, Michael D. Cobb and David Guston. 2012. “Anticipatory governance of human enhancement: The National Citizens’ Technology Forum.” In S. Hays, CA Miller, J. Robert & I. Bennett (eds.), The Yearbook of Nanotechnology, Volume III: Nanotechnology, the Brain, and the Future, Eds. Sean Hays, Jason Scott Robert, Clark A. Miller, and Ira Bennett. New York: Springer Business and Science Media.

Kuklinski, James H., and Michael D. Cobb. 1998. “When White Southerners Converse about Race.” In Jon Hurwitz and Mark Peffley, eds., Perception and prejudice: Race and politics in the United States. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Diamond, Gregory A., and Michael D. Cobb. 1996. “The Candidate as Catastrophe: Latitude Theory and the Problems of Political Persuasion.” In Diana C. Mutz, Paul M. Sniderman, and Richard A. Brody, eds., Political persuasion and attitude change. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Presentations

“The Effects of Racially Mistargeted Political Communication.” Paper Prepared for the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, Il, April 15-19, 2015 (with Nick Hatley and Christopher LaGant).

“Framing Acts, Outcomes, and Contingencies in the Intelligence Process.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 18-21, 2015 (with Bill Boettcher).

“Exploring the Role of Candidate Sexual Orientation in U.S. Elections.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, Jan 15-17, 2015. (with Darren Lipman).

“Framing Trade With China: The Conditional Role of Non-Materialist Information.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association’s Annual Meeting, Chicago IL, August 29 - September 1, 2013 (with Mark Nance, Amâncio Jorge Oliveira, Janina Onuki and Fabio Santeramo).

“Celebrities and GOTV: An experiment to motivate voting among college students.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association’s Annual Meeting, Chicago IL, August 29 - September 1, 2013 (With Kaye Usry).

“Empowerment and Social Learning: Long Term Benefits of Citizen Deliberation about Nanotechnologies for Human Enhancement.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, April 11-14, 2013 (with Gretchen Gano).”

“Framing Wartime Success: Reporting Enemy Body Counts in America's UAV Campaigns,” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, San Francisco, California, April 3-6, 2013 (With William Boettcher & Kristina D. Hill).

“More Money, More Problems? Judicial Campaign Fundraising, the Perceived Legitimacy of the Courts, and Citizens’ Feelings of Political Efficacy.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, April 12-15, 2012 (with Jim Zink).

“Back to the Basics: How Measuring Non-Opinions Affects the Validity of Sociotropic Explanations of Foreign Trade Preferences.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association’s Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA. September 1-4, 2011 (with Mark Nance).

“Making "Probable" Seem "Likely": Contingency Framing in Foreign Policy Decision Making.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Montreal, CA, March 16-19, 2011 (with Bill Boettcher).

“Celebrities and Young Voters: Can They Really Get Out the Vote?”  Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, April 2, 2011 (with Kaye Usry).

“Methods for Overcoming Social Desirability Biases in Surveys” Invited paper presented at Qatar University, Survey Research in the Gulf: Issues and Policy Implications, Feb 28-March 1, 2011.

“Framing acts, outcomes, and contingencies: Expanding our understanding of prospect theory and foreign policy.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, New Orleans, LA, February 17-20, 2010 (with Bill Boettcher).

“Seeing stars: Are young voters influenced by celebrity endorsements of candidates?” Paper prepared for presentation at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, Illinois, April 22-25 (with Kaye Usry).

“Racial attitudes and hard to reach respondents: The interaction between response and nonresponse bias when measuring prejudice.” Paper presented at the 65th annual meeting of the American Association of Public Opinion Research, Chicago, Il, May 13-16, 2010.

“Paging congressional Democrats: It’s the immorality, stupid.” Paper prepared for presentation at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, Aug 30-Sept 2.

Responsibilities

40% Research

40% Teaching

20% Engagement

Education

  • PhD in American Politics from University of Illinois, 2001