Selective perception of novel science: how definitions affect information processing about nanotechnology

  • Jiyoun KimEmail author
  • Heather Akin
  • Dominique Brossard
  • Michael Xenos
  • Dietram A. Scheufele


This study examines how familiarity with an issue—nanotechnology—moderates the effect of exposure to science information on how people process mediated messages about a complex issue. In an online experiment, we provide a nationally representative sample three definitions of nanotechnology (technical, technical applications, and technical risk/benefit definitions). We then ask them to read an article about the topic. We find significant interactions between perceived nano-familiarity and the definition received in terms of how respondents perceive favorable information conveyed in the stimulus. People less familiar with nanotechnology were more significantly affected by the type of definition they received.


Information processing Issue familiarity Primed encoding Definitions of emerging technology Nanotechnology Nanoscience 



This material is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation to the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (Grant No. SES-0937591) and the UW-Madison Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center in Templated Synthesis and Assembly at the Nanoscale (Grant No. SES-DMR-0832760). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

This material is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation to the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (Grant No. SES-0937591) and the UW-Madison Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center in Templated Synthesis and Assembly at the Nanoscale (Grant No. SES-DMR-0832760). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiyoun Kim
    • 1
    Email author
  • Heather Akin
    • 2
  • Dominique Brossard
    • 3
  • Michael Xenos
    • 4
  • Dietram A. Scheufele
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of CommunicationUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Annenberg Public Policy CenterUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Life Sciences CommunicationUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Communication ArtsUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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