This study examines how value predispositions, communication variables, and perceptions of risks and benefits are associated with public support for federal funding of nanotechnology. Our findings show that highly religious individuals were less supportive of funding of nanotech than the less religious individuals, whereas individuals who held a high deference for scientific authority were more supportive of funding of the emerging technology than those low in deference. Mass media use and elaborative processing of scientific news were positively associated with public support for funding, whereas factual scientific knowledge had no significant association with policy choices. We conclude with policy implications that will be useful for policymakers and science communication practitioners.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Understanding the roles of value predispositions, mass media, and cognitive processing in public attitudes toward nanotechnology

Shirley S Ho   Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information,Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Dietram A Scheufele   Department of Life Sciences Communication,University of Wisconsin-Madison

Elizabeth A Corley   School of Public Affairs,Arizona State University

This study examines how value predispositions, communication variables, and perceptions of risks and benefits are associated with public support for federal funding of nanotechnology. Our findings show that highly religious individuals were less supportive of funding of nanotech than the less religious individuals, whereas individuals who held a high deference for scientific authority were more supportive of funding of the emerging technology than those low in deference. Mass media use and elaborative processing of scientific news were positively associated with public support for funding, whereas factual scientific knowledge had no significant association with policy choices. We conclude with policy implications that will be useful for policymakers and science communication practitioners.

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