Advertisement

Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp 659–667 | Cite as

The Public and Nanotechnology: How Citizens Make Sense of Emerging Technologies

  • Dietram A. Scheufele
  • Bruce V. Lewenstein
Techology and Application

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 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bainbridge, W.S. 2002Public attitudes toward nanotechnologyJ. Nanoparticle. Res.4561570Google Scholar
  2. Bauer, M.W., Schoon, I. 1993Mapping variety in public understanding of sciencePublic Understanding Sci.2141155Google Scholar
  3. Cobb, M.D., Macoubrie, J. 2004Public perceptions about nanotechnology: Risks, benefits and trustJ. Nanoparticle Res.6395405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Converse, P.E. 2000Assessing the capacity of mass electoratesAnnu. Rev. Political Sci.3331353Google Scholar
  5. Fiske, S.T., Taylor, S.E. 1991Social Cognition2McGraw-HillNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Gaskell, G., Ten Eyck, T., Jackson, J., Veltri, G. 2004Public attitudes to nanotechnology in europe and the united statesNature Materials3496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Iyengar, S. 1996Framing responsibility for political issuesAnn. Amer. Acad. Polit. SS5465970Google Scholar
  8. Kunreuther, H.C. 2001Protective decisions: Fear or prudenceHoch, S.J.Kunreuther, H.C.Gunther, R.E. eds. Wharton on Making DecisionsJohn Wiley & SonsNew York, NY259272Google Scholar
  9. Miller, J.D. 1998The measurement of civic scientific literacyPublic Understanding Sci.7203223Google Scholar
  10. Nisbet, M.C., Brossard, D., Kroepsch, A. 2003Framing science – the stem cell controversy in an age of press/politicsHarv. Int. J. Press-Poltics83670Google Scholar
  11. Nisbet, M.C., Lewenstein, B.V. 2002Biotechnology and the american media – the policy process and the elite press, 1970 to 1999Sci. Commun.23359391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Page, B.I., Shapiro, R.Y. 1992The Rational publicUniversity of Chicago PressChicago, ILGoogle Scholar
  13. Popkin, S.L. 1994The Reasoning Voter: Communication and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns2University of Chicago PressChicago, ILGoogle Scholar
  14. Price, V., Tewksbury, D. 1997News values and public opinion: A theoretical account of media priming and framingBarett, G.A.Boster, F.J. eds. Progress in Communication Sciences: Advances in Persuasion (vol 13)AblexGreenwich, CT173213Google Scholar
  15. Roco, M.C. 2003Broader societal issues of nanotechnologyJ. Nanoparticle Res.5181189Google Scholar
  16. Roco, M.C.Bainbridge, W.S. eds. 2001Societal Implications of Nanoscience and NanotechnologyKluwer Academic PublishersBoston, MAGoogle Scholar
  17. Scheufele, D.A. 1999Framing as a theory of media effectsJ. Commun.49103122Google Scholar
  18. Scheufele, D.A. 2000Agenda-setting, priming, and framing revisited: Another look at cognitive effects of political communicationMass Communication & Society3297316Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Madison School of Journalism & Mass CommunicationUniversity of WisconsinMadison
  2. 2.Department of Communication and Department of Science & Technology StudiesCornell UniversityIthaca

Personalised recommendations