Navigation Links
Nanotechnology 'culture war' possible, says Yale study
Date:12/7/2008

New Haven, Conn, Rather than infer that nanotechnology is safe, members of the public who learn about this novel science tend to become sharply polarized along cultural lines, according to a study conducted by the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School in collaboration with the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. The report is published online in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

These findings have important implications for garnering support of the new technology, say the researchers.

The experiment involved a diverse sample of 1,500 Americans, the vast majority of whom were unfamiliar with nanotechnology, a relatively new science that involves the manipulation of particles the size of atoms and that has numerous commercial applications. When shown balanced information about the risks and benefits of nanotechnology, study participants became highly divided on its safety compared to a group not shown such information.

The determining factor in how people responded was their cultural values, according to Dan Kahan, the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor at Yale Law School and lead author of the study. "People who had more individualistic, pro-commerce values, tended to infer that nanotechnology is safe," said Kahan, "while people who are more worried about economic inequality read the same information as implying that nanotechnology is likely to be dangerous."

According to Kahan, this pattern is consistent with studies examining how people's cultural values influence their perceptions of environmental and technological risks generally. "In sum, when they learned about a new technology, people formed reactions to it that matched their views of risks like climate change and nuclear waste disposal," he said.

The study also found that people who have pro-commerce cultural values are more likely to know about nanotechnology than others. "Not surprisingly, people who like technology and believe it isn't bad for the environment tend to learn about new technologies before other people do," said Kahan. "While various opinion polls suggest that familiarity with nanotechnology leads people to believe it is safe, they have been confusing cause with effect."

According to Kahan and other experts, the findings of the experiment highlight the need for public education strategies that consider citizens' predispositions. "There is still plenty of time to develop risk-communication strategies that make it possible for persons of diverse values to understand the best evidence scientists develop on nanotechnology's risks," added Kahan. "The only mistake would be to assume that such strategies aren't necessary."

"The message matters," said David Rejeski, director of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. "How information about nanotechnology is presented to the vast majority of the public who still know little about it can either make or break this technology. Scientists, the government, and industry generally take a simplistic, 'just the facts' approach to communicating with the public about a new technology. But, this research shows that diverse audiences and groups react to the same information very differently."


'/>"/>

Contact: Janet Rettig Emanuel
janet.emanuel@yale.edu
203-432-2157
Yale University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. NIST, NCI bring web 2.0 tools to nanotechnology standards effort
2. Nanotechnology boosts war on superbugs
3. Europe rallies behind nanotechnology to wean world from fossil fuels
4. Nanotechnology: A brave new world requires bold new research approaches
5. NSF and EPA establish 2 centers for environmental implications of nanotechnology
6. UCLA, partners establish new center on environmental effects of nanotechnology
7. Duke to lead new NSF, EPA center to study the environmental implications of nanotechnology
8. NSF funds multi-university center to study environmental implications of nanotechnology
9. Halas wins prestigious nanotechnology research award
10. Air-purifying church windows early nanotechnology
11. Emergency response and nanotechnology
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Nanotechnology 'culture war' possible, says Yale study
(Date:4/26/2016)... LONDON , April 26, 2016 ... a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... to integrate the Onegini mobile security platform with ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) The integration will ... to access and transact across channels. Using this ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... BioCatch ™, the global ... the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger as CEO. ... Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a time of significant ... of its platform at several of the world,s largest ... unique cognitive and physiological factors, is a winner of ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... Massachusetts , March 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... im Interesse erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung ... Xura, Inc. (NASDAQ: MESG ), ... bekannt, dass das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, ... aus der Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... Foundation (NSCF) to support the development of a patient-specific stem cell therapy for the ... in the lab of Dr. Jeanne Loring at The Scripps Research Institute in San ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... 2016 Q BioMed Inc. ... CEO  was featured in an article he wrote ... Fear To Tread: http://www.lifescienceleader.com/doc/accelerators-enter-when-vcs-fear-to-tread-0001 ... is an essential business journal for life science ... to Big Pharmas. Their content is designed to ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , ... April 28, 2016 , ... ... will hold an open house for regional manufacturers at its Maple Grove, Minnesota ... Tsugami, Okuma, Hardinge Group, Chiron and Trumpf. Almost 20 leading suppliers of ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... New York, NY (PRWEB) , ... April 27, ... ... without realizing it. Touch screen mobile devices with fingerprint recognition for secure ... image libraries are only a few ways consumers are interacting with biometrics technology ...
Breaking Biology Technology: