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Public Understanding of Science

Kathleen M Rose, Emily L Howell, Leona Y-F Su, Michael A Xenos, Dominique Brossard, Dietram A Scheufele
The impact of knowledge on public attitudes toward scientific issues remains unclear, due in part to ill-defined differences in how research designs conceptualize knowledge. Using genetically modified foods as a framework, we explore the impacts of perceived familiarity and factual knowledge, and the moderating roles of media attention and a food-specific attitudinal variable (food consciousness), in shaping these relationships. Based on the differential effects on "negative attitudes" toward genetically modified foods, we provide further evidence that the measures of knowledge are separate concepts and argue against a one-dimensional view of scientific knowledge...
February 14, 2019: Public Understanding of Science
Michiel van Rijn, Manon Haverkate, Peter Achterberg, Aura Timen
In this study, we test to what extent an educational video on the intricacies of antibiotic resistance affects public attitudes towards antibiotic resistance and how such information is absorbed by the most likely targets of public health campaigns. We use a representative sample of 2037 individuals (from 2016) to test how people respond to a video educating them about antibiotic resistance. Our results show that receiving information does increase the general awareness of antibiotic resistance among our respondents...
February 12, 2019: Public Understanding of Science
Jenni Metcalfe
Scholars have variously described different models of science communication over the past 20 years. However, there has been little assessment of theorised models against science communication practice. This article compares 515 science engagement activities recorded in a 2012 Australian audit against the theorised characteristics of the three dominant models of deficit, dialogue and participation. Most engagement activities had objectives that reflected a mix of deficit and dialogue activities. Despite increases in scientific controversies like climate change, there appears to be a paucity of participatory activities in Australia...
February 12, 2019: Public Understanding of Science
Yeheng Pan, Michaël Opgenhaffen, Baldwin Van Gorp
Climate negotiations have increasingly resonated with global governance and world power relations. However, media studies of climate change have paid relatively less attention to media frames of the problem solving. This study addresses this issue by examining the media coverage of COP21 from three countries that have considerable influence on climate politics: the United Kingdom, the United States, and China. By applying an inductive frame analysis, the study identified 10 media frames embedded in the discussions on climate negotiations...
February 6, 2019: Public Understanding of Science
Benjamin A Lyons, Ariel Hasell, Meghnaa Tallapragada, Kathleen Hall Jamieson
A conversion narrative recounts the process that led the speaker to reject one belief for a different, usually incompatible, alternative. However, researchers know little about whether, when, and, if so, how such messages affect audience attitudes about controversial science. Using a general US population-sample experiment, we assessed the attitudinal impact of three versions of a statement by Mark Lynas, an environmental activist who converted from opposing to championing genetically modified crops. Participants were exposed to (1) a one-sided pro-genetically modified message by Lynas, (2) a two-sided pro-genetically modified message in which Lynas indicates but does not detail his conversion, or (3) a two-sided pro-genetically modified message in which Lynas explains the process that prompted his conversion...
January 10, 2019: Public Understanding of Science
Bettina M Zimmermann, Noah Aebi, Steffen Kolb, David Shaw, Bernice S Elger
Predictive genetic testing often entails challenging decisions about preventive measures and uncertain health-related risk predictions. Because of its increasing availability, it is important to assess how to debate it publicly. Newspaper content analysis represents a common and reliable way to investigate public discourse retrospectively. We thus quantitatively compare broadsheet newspaper coverage about predictive genetic testing in the United Kingdom and Switzerland during the period of 2011-2016 regarding content, evaluations, stakeholder influence, and trigger events...
December 24, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
John Fellenor, Julie Barnett, Clive Potter, Julie Urquhart, J D Mumford, C P Quine, Susanne Raum
'Public concern', a ubiquitous notion used in descriptive and explanatory modes by policy makers, academics and the media, is often presented as axiomatic. However, the variability with which it is deployed in different contexts, for example, as justification for policy attention or having equivalence with what is considered 'newsworthy', belies this status. This article presents an empirical analysis of emails and phone calls from the UK public to UK government agencies, reporting suspected cases of ash dieback disease - a tree health issue which attracted intense media and policy attention in the United Kingdom in 2012...
December 14, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Mark Davis
Online media has provided unprecedented opportunities for anti-vaccination groups to spread their message. An extensive scholarly literature has consequently emerged to analyse such discourse and develop strategies for countering it. In this article, I take a different approach. My contention is that it is no longer appropriate to approach anti-vaccination discourse as a stand-alone formation. Such sites, I argue, building on work by McKenzie Wark and Bart Cammaerts, are increasingly part of a wider proliferation of 'anti-public' discourse that contests fundamental democratic conventions, rules of argumentation and so on...
December 10, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Christopher P Scheitle, Sara K Guthrie
Research has shown that the form and content of science communications can influence individuals' responses. This study examines whether individuals' perceptions of scientific research are influenced by the discipline to which the research is attributed. Two vignette experiments find that neither the perceived scientific-ness nor trustworthiness of a study originating from sociology is affected by attributing the study to a different social science or to a natural or medical science. These null findings contrast with surveys showing sizable disciplinary differences in public attitudes...
December 6, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Diana Garrisi
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 21, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Reginald Boersma, P Marijn Poortvliet, Bart Gremmen
In this work, using experiments, we investigate the role of the name of a technology on the informed evaluation of that technology. We argue that a name can influence interpretations by activating cognitive structures. Using genomics-accelerated breeding as a case, we show that the name 'genomics' makes people evaluate related information as similar to genetic modification. Replacing the name 'genomics' with 'natural crossing' causes evaluations similar to those for traditional breeding. The results show that a name can have a strong influence on public attitudes, and we call for more consideration in choosing a name for a technology...
November 21, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Tsahi Hayat, Arnon Hershkovitz, Tal Samuel-Azran
In this study, we explore the effect of diversity among people who share a story about a scientific discovery, on the recipient's credibility assessment regarding that story. The data used in this study were gathered in two phases. Initial data were collected through the Twitter application program interface. The data were then used in an experimental setting: We manipulated the level of diversity of real-life Twitter followings, supposedly retweeting a story to our participants ( n = 274). Each of our participants was then asked to complete a paper-based survey...
November 16, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Kristian H Nielsen
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 12, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Tim Boon
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 4, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Ilaria Ampollini
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Todd P Newman, Erik C Nisbet, Matthew C Nisbet
According to cultural cognition theory, individuals hold opinions about politically contested issues like climate change that are consistent with their "cultural way of life," conforming their opinions to how they think society should be organized and to what they perceive are the attitudes of their cultural peers. Yet despite dozens of cultural cognition studies, none have directly examined the role of the news media in facilitating these differential interpretations. To address this gap, drawing on a national survey of US adults administered in 2015, we statistically modeled the cultural cognition process in relation to news choices and media effects on public attitudes about climate change...
November 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Weirui Wang, Lei Guo
We investigate how the online news and Twitter framed the discussion about genetically modified mosquitoes, and the interplay between the two media platforms. The study is grounded in the theoretical frameworks of intermedia agenda setting, framing, and the issue-attention cycle and combines methods of manual and computational content analysis, and time series analysis. The findings show that the Twitter discussion was more benefit-oriented, while the news coverage was more balanced. Initially, Twitter played a leading role in framing the discussion about genetically modified mosquitoes...
November 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Esther Chan
Are the religious suspicious of science? Drawing on data from 52 nations in the World Values Survey (wave 6) ( N = 58,474), I utilize multilevel models to examine the relationship between religiosity, religious context, and five different orientations towards science: confidence in science, trust in scientific authority under conditions of conflict with religion, faith in science, views on the moral effects of science, and interest in scientific knowledge. Results show that while religiosity is on average negatively associated with the five outcomes, the relationship between religiosity and orientations towards science varies by country such that religiosity is sometimes positively associated with the different outcomes...
November 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Carla Almeida, Luisa Massarani
Genetically modified organisms have been at the centre of a major public controversy, involving different interests and actors. While much attention has been devoted to consumer views on genetically modified food, there have been few attempts to understand the perceptions of genetically modified technology among farmers. By investigating perceptions of genetically modified organisms among Brazilian farmers, we intend to contribute towards filling this gap and thereby add the views of this stakeholder group to the genetically modified debate...
November 2018: Public Understanding of Science
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