You are hereBiblio / From enabling technology to applications: The evolution of risk perceptions about nanotechnology

From enabling technology to applications: The evolution of risk perceptions about nanotechnology


By csep - Posted on 09 May 2012

TitleFrom enabling technology to applications: The evolution of risk perceptions about nanotechnology
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsCacciatore, M. A., Scheufele D. A., and Corley E. A.
JournalPublic Understanding of Science
Volume20
Issue3
Pagination385 - 404
Date Published05/2011
ISSN Number1361-6609
KeywordsPublic Perception
Abstract

Public opinion research on nanotechnology has primarily focused on judgments of abstract risks and benefits, rather than attitudes toward specific applications. This approach will be less useful as nanotechnology morphs from a scientific breakthrough into an enabling technology whose impacts on people’s lives come in the form of concrete applications in specific areas. This study examines the mental connections or associations US citizens have with nanotechnology (e.g. the extent to which people associate nanotechnology with the medical field, the military, consumer products, etc.), and how these associations moderate the influences of risk and benefit perceptions on attitudes toward nanotechnology. Our results suggest that the assumption that risk perceptions shape overall attitudes toward emerging technologies is simplistic. Rather, individuals who associate nanotech with particular areas of application, such as the medical field, take risk perceptions much more into account when forming attitudes than respondents who do not make these mental connections.

DOI10.1177/0963662509347815
Short TitlePublic Understanding of Science