Advertisement

NanoEthics

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 319–334 | Cite as

A Computer-Aided Affective Content Analysis of Nanotechnology Newspaper Articles

  • Robert Davis
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper explores the application of an affective content analysis to a selection of nanotechnology news articles gathered from selected newspapers. Thematic content analyses dominate current efforts to mine large text collections of popular science media; the addition of an affective analysis element can yield useful information to supplement future content analysis efforts. Using Whissell’s Dictionary of Affect in Language, the analysis rates news articles gathered over a twenty-two year period for their pleasantness, activeness, and imagery, determining the mean affective tone in each category for the entire collection, four ‘content themes’ (business, national security, health, and environment), and the change in affective tone over the twenty-two year period these articles represent. Whereas the entire collection analyzed as a whole rates very similarly to the average found for everyday English language use and the ‘content themes’ show similar results, the change in affective tone over the years has been both significant and striking. A sample of results from three years of the twenty-two year period is then qualitatively explored to demonstrate to the reader the connection between the quantitative results of the Dictionary and the qualitative effect of the article’s word use and phrasing. The paper ends with a review of the technique’s success, implications for policymaking and public dialogue, and avenues for future use.

Keywords

Affective content analysis Computer-aided content analysis Nanotechnology Science communication Science media Thematic content analysis 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Dave Guston for his invaluable advice through all stages of bringing this paper to publication. I would also like to thank Brianne Wells and Chance Chandler for discussions of ideas and reviews of early paper drafts.

References

  1. 1.
    Allan S, Anderson A, Petersen A (2010) Framing risk: nanotechnologies in the news. J Risk Res 13(1):29–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Anderson A, Allan S, Petersen A, Wilkinson C (2005) The framing of nanotechnologies in the British Press. Sci Commun 27(2):200–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Anderson A, Petersen A, Wilkinson C, Allan S (2009) Nanotechnology, risk and communication. Palgrave Macmillan, HoundmillsCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Blackford J, Buckholtz J, Avery S, Zald D (2010) A unique role for the human amygdale in novelty detection. Neuroimage 50(3):1188–1193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Barrett LF (2006) Solving the emotion paradox: categorization and the experience of emotion. Pers Soc Psychol Rev 10(1):20–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bower G (1981) Mood and memory. Am Psychol 36(2):129–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Brunet P, Schmidt L (2008) Are shy adults really bolder online? It depends on the context. Cyberpsychol Behav 11(6):707–709CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Brunet P, Schmidt L (2009) Sex differences in the expression and use of computer-mediated affective lanugage: does context matter? Soc Sci Comput Rev 28(2):194–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bush G, Luu P, Posner M (2000) Cognitive and emotional influences in anterior cingulated cortex. Trends Cogn Sci 4(6):215–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Chong D, Druckman J (2007) Framing public opinion in competitive democracies. Am Polit Sci Rev 101(4):637–655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Druckman J (2001) On the limits of framing effects: who can frame? J Polit 63(4):1041–1066CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Druckman J, McDermott R (2008) Emotion and the framing of risky choice. Polit Behav 30:297–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Dudo A, Choi D-H, Scheufele D (2011) Food nanotechnology in the news: coverage patterns and thematic emphases during the last decade. Appetite 56:78–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Dudo A, Dunwoody S, Scheufele DA (2011) The emergence of nano news: Tracking thematic trends and changes in U.S. newspaper coverge of nanotechnology. Journalism Mass Comm Q 88(1):55–75Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ebeling M (2008) Mediating uncertainty: communicating the financial risks of nanotechnologies. Sci Commun 29(3):335–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Frewen P, Dozois D, Neufeld R, Densmore M, Stevens T, Lanius R (2010) Neuroimaging social emotional processing in women: fMRI study of script-driven imagery. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 6(3):1–18Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Gamson W, Modigliani A (1989) Media discourse and public opinion on nuclear power: a constructionist approach. Am J Sociol 95(1):1–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Gamson W (1992) Talking politics. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Gross K, D’Ambrosio L (2004) Framing emotional response. Polit Psychol 25(1):1–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Gross K, Brewer P (2007) Sore losers: news frames, policy debates, and emotions. Harv Int J Press/Polit 12(1):122–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gross K (2008) Framing persuasive appeals: episodic and thematic framing, emotional response, and policy opinion. Polit Psychol 29(2):169–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Hirschberg J, Benus S, Brenier J, Enos F, Friedman S, Gilman S, Girand C, Graciarena M, Kathol A, Michaelis L, Pellom B, Shriberg E, Stolcke A (2005) Distinguishing Deceptive from Non-Deceptive Speech. Proceedings of Interspeech 2005 – Eurospeech. J Risk Res 13(1):29–44Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Iyengar S (1991) Is anyone responsible? University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kahan DM, Slovic P, Braman D, Gastil J, Cohen G (2007) Nanotechnology risk perceptions: the influence of affect and values. Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School and the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kahan D, Braman D, Slovic P, Gastil J, Cohen G (2009) Cultural cognition of the risks and benefits of nanotechnology. Nat Nanotechnol 4(2):87–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Kjolberg K (2009) Representations of nanotechnology in Norwegian newspapers—implications for public participation. Nanoethics 3:61–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Marcus G, Neuman WR, Mackuen M (2000) Affective intelligence and political judgment. The University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Massey SA, Druin A, Weeks AC (2007) Emotion, response, and recommendation: the role of affect in children’s book reviews in a digital library. In: Nahl D, Bilal D (eds) Information and emotion: the emergent affective paradigm in information behavior research and theory. Medford, Information Today, pp 135–160Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    McCombs M (2004) E. Setting the agenda: mass media and public opinion, Blackwell, MaldenGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    McKechnie L, Ross CS (2007) Affective dimensions of information seeking in the context of reading. In: Nahl D, Bilal D (eds) Information and emotion: the emergent affective paradigm in information behavior research and theory. Medford, Information Today, pp 187–195Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Nelkin D (1987) Selling science: how the press covers science and technology. W.H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Nelson T, Kinder T (1996) Issue framing and group-centrism in American public opinion. J Polit 58(November):1055–1078CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Nelson T, Clawson R, Oxley Z (1997) Media framing of a civil liberties conflict and its effects on tolerance. Am Pol Sci Rev 91(3):567–583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Petersen A, Anderson A, Allan S, Wilkinson C (2008) Opening the black box: scientists’ views on the role of the news media in the nanotechnology debate. Public Underst Sci 18(5):512–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Posner J, Russell J, Peterson B (2005) The circumplex model of affect: An integrative approach to affective neuroscience, cognitive development, and psychopathology. Dev Psychopathol 17:715–734CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Posner J, Russell J, Gerber A, Gorman D, Colibazzi T, Yu S, Wang Z, Kangarlu A, Zhu H, Peterson B (2009) The neurophysiological bases of emtoion: an fMRI study of the affective circumplex using emotion-denoting words. Hum Brain Mapp 30(3):883–895CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Ruiter C, Brosschot J (1994) The emotional stroop interference effect in anxiety: attentional bias or cognitive avoidance? Behav Res Ther 32(3):315–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Russell J (1978) Evidence of convergent validity on the dimensions of affect. J Pers Soc Psychol 36(10):1152–1168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Russell J (2003) Core affect and the psychological construction of emotion. Psychol Rev 110(1):145–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Scheufele DA (1999) Framing as a theory of media effects. J Commun 49(1):103–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Scheufele DA (2000) Agenda-setting, priming, and framing revisited: another look at cognitive effects of political communication. Mass Comm Soc 3(2&3):297–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Scheufele D, Corley E, Shih T, Dalrymple K, Ho S (2008) Religious beliefs and public attitudes toward nanotechnology in Europe and the United States. Nat Nanotechnol 3(4):91–94Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Schutz H, Wiedermann P (2008) Framing effects on risk perception of nanotechnology. Public Underst Sci 17(3):369–379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Sergerie K, Armony J, Menear M, Sutton H, Lepage M (2010) Influence of emotional expression on memory recognition bias in schizophrenia as revealed by fMRI. Schizophr Bull 36(4):800–810CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Stephens L (2005) News narratives about nano S&T in major U.S. and Non-U.S. newspapers. Sci Commun 27(2):175–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Tsai J, Miao F, Seppala E (2007) Good feelings in Christianity and Buddhism: religious differences in ideal affect. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 33(3):409–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Weaver DA, Bimber B (2009) Finding news stories: a comparison on searches using LexisNexis and Google News. Journalism Mass Comm Q 85(3):515–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Weaver D, Lively E, Bimber B (2009) News media tell the story of technological progress, risk, and regulations. Sci Commun 31(2):139–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Whissell C (2008) Emotional fluctuations in Bob Dylan’s lyrics measured by the dictionary of affect accompany events and phrases in his life. Psychol Rep 102(2):469–483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Whissell C (2009) Using the revised dictionary of affect in language to quantify the emotional undertones of samples of natural language. Psychol Rep 105:509–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Whissell C. Whissell’s dictionary of affect in language: technical manual and user’s guide. Retrieved January 20, 2011 from http://www.hdcus.com/manuals/wdalman.pdf.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Politics and Global StudiesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations