The Public and Nanotechnology: How Citizens Make Sense of Emerging Technologies Techology and Application Received: 02 April 2005 Accepted: 17 May 2005 DOI:
Cite this article as: Scheufele, D.A. & Lewenstein, B.V. J Nanopart Res (2005) 7: 659. doi:10.1007/s11051-005-7526-2 Abstract
We report findings from a national telephone survey on levels of knowledge about and attitudes toward nanotechnology that demonstrate how people make decisions about emerging technologies. Our findings confirm previous research that suggests that people form opinions and attitudes even in the absence of relevant scientific or policy-related information. In fact, our data show that cognitive shortcuts or heuristics – often provided by mass media – are currently a key factor in influencing how the public thinks about nanotechnology and about its risks and benefits, and in determining the level of support among the public for further funding for research in this area.
Keywords risk perceptions public understanding public opinion media coverage framing cognitive miser model nanotechnology References Bainbridge, W.S. 2002 Public attitudes toward nanotechnology J. Nanoparticle. Res. 4 561 570 Google Scholar Bauer, M.W., Schoon, I. 1993 Mapping variety in public understanding of science Public Understanding Sci. 2 141 155 Google Scholar Cobb, M.D., Macoubrie, J. 2004 Public perceptions about nanotechnology: Risks, benefits and trust J. Nanoparticle Res. 6 395 405 CrossRef Google Scholar Converse, P.E. 2000 Assessing the capacity of mass electorates Annu. Rev. Political Sci. 3 331 353 Google Scholar Fiske, S.T., Taylor, S.E. 1991Social Cognition2 McGraw-Hill New York Google Scholar Gaskell, G., Ten Eyck, T., Jackson, J., Veltri, G. 2004 Public attitudes to nanotechnology in europe and the united states Nature Materials 3 496 CrossRef Google Scholar Iyengar, S. 1996 Framing responsibility for political issues Ann. Amer. Acad. Polit. SS 546 59 70 Google Scholar Kunreuther, H.C. 2001 Protective decisions: Fear or prudence Hoch, S.J. Kunreuther, H.C. Gunther, R.E. eds. Wharton on Making Decisions John Wiley & Sons New York, NY 259 272 Google Scholar Miller, J.D. 1998 The measurement of civic scientific literacy Public Understanding Sci. 7 203 223 Google Scholar Nisbet, M.C., Brossard, D., Kroepsch, A. 2003 Framing science – the stem cell controversy in an age of press/politics Harv. Int. J. Press-Poltics 8 36 70 Google Scholar Nisbet, M.C., Lewenstein, B.V. 2002 Biotechnology and the american media – the policy process and the elite press, 1970 to 1999 Sci. Commun. 23 359 391 CrossRef Google Scholar Page, B.I., Shapiro, R.Y. 1992The Rational public University of Chicago Press Chicago, IL Google Scholar Popkin, S.L. 1994The Reasoning Voter: Communication and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns2 University of Chicago Press Chicago, IL Google Scholar Price, V., Tewksbury, D. 1997 News values and public opinion: A theoretical account of media priming and framing Barett, G.A. Boster, F.J. eds. Progress in Communication Sciences: Advances in Persuasion (vol 13) Ablex Greenwich, CT 173 213 Google Scholar Roco, M.C. 2003 Broader societal issues of nanotechnology J. Nanoparticle Res. 5 181 189 Google Scholar Roco, M.C. Bainbridge, W.S. eds. 2001Societal Implications of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Kluwer Academic Publishers Boston, MA Google Scholar Scheufele, D.A. 1999 Framing as a theory of media effects J. Commun. 49 103 122 Google Scholar Scheufele, D.A. 2000 Agenda-setting, priming, and framing revisited: Another look at cognitive effects of political communication Mass Communication & Society 3 297 316 Google Scholar