The perceived familiarity gap hypothesis: examining how media attention and reflective integration relate to perceived familiarity with nanotechnology in Singapore

  • Edmund W. J. LeeEmail author
  • Shirley S. Ho


Public level of familiarity with nanotechnology partly determines their acceptance or rejection of the technology. This study examines the differential influence of public attention to science news in the media and reflective integration on perceived familiarity with nanotechnology among people in the higher and lower socioeconomic status (SES) groups in Singapore. Significant three-way interactions among education, science news attention, and reflective integration variables were found. Attention to television science news narrowed the level of perceived familiarity with nanotechnology between the higher and lower SES groups for those who engaged in high elaborative processing. Science newspaper attention, on the other hand, widened the familiarity gap between the higher and lower SES groups among those who engaged in high elaborative processing. Two-way interaction among education and elaborative processing were found—elaborative processing closed the familiarity gap between higher and lower SES groups. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.


Knowledge gap Perceived familiarity Nanotechnology Mass media Reflective integration 



This material is based upon work supported by a grant from Nanyang Technological University (Grant No. M4080206).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and InformationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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