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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...
September 10, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Shupei Yuan, John C Besley, Anthony Dudo
This study investigated how communication scholars view scientists' public engagement as well as differences between how these scholars and natural and physical scientists think about the topic. The study used surveys of authors who recently published in five journals related to science communication alongside surveys of scientists from three prominent professional science societies. The results suggest that communication scholars ( N = 362) shared some views with the scientists ( N = 307, 373, 372) regarding scientists' performance, factors that influence engagement activities, and communication objectives, but potentially important differences were observed as well...
September 3, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Matthew Motta
While most Americans recognize the importance of funding scientific research, many are satisfied with status quo funding, and only a minority see a need for increased federal support. This poses a potential challenge to scientists' abilities to address complex policy problems, like climate change. Previous correlational research suggests that public opposition to science funding is (at least in part) the result of low levels of knowledge about the basics of science. Leveraging panel data from two nationally representative studies (2008-2014), I show that people who become more interested in science over time but not those who become more knowledgable are more likely to favor increasing public support for scientific research...
August 29, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Katarina Winter
Arenas where experts interact with publics are useful platforms for communication and interaction between actors in the field of public health: researchers, practitioners, clinicians, patients, and laypersons. Such coalitions are central to the analysis of knowledge coproduction. This study investigates an initiative for assembling expert and other significant knowledge which seeks to create better interventions and solutions to addiction-related problems, in this case codependency. But what and whose knowledge is communicated, and how? The study explores how processes of repetition, claim-coupling, and enthusiasm produce a community based on three boundary beliefs: (1) victimized codependent children failed by an impaired society; (2) the power of daring and sharing; and (3) the (brain) disease model as the scientific representative and explanation for (co)dependence...
August 3, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Ashley Pullman, Michelle Y Chen, Danjie Zou, Benjamin A Hives, Yan Liu
How science and technology attitudes vary across the United States, China, South Korea and Japan - all of which top Bloomberg's list of high-tech centralization - is explored through data from the sixth wave of the World Values Survey (2010-2014). The following study examines the presence of different types of attitudinal groups using latent profile analysis. Not only do unique attitudinal groups exist in each country, but each group is uniquely influenced by select demographic characteristics, including education, age, gender, religiosity, employment status and individual interaction with technology...
August 2, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Sedona Chinn, Daniel S Lane, P Sol Hart
Scholars have recently suggested that communicating levels of scientific consensus (e.g. the percentage of scientists who agree about human-caused climate change) can shift public opinion toward the dominant scientific opinion. Initial research suggested that consensus communication effectively reduces public skepticism. However, other research failed to find a persuasive effect for those with conflicting prior beliefs. This study enters this contested space by experimentally testing how different levels of consensus shape perceptions of scientific certainty...
July 30, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Inoka Amarasekara, Will J Grant
YouTube has become the second most popular web search engine (see ) and the primary website for individuals and organisations to freely distribute video content. Popularity statistics indicate that Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics-related content is of significant interest to YouTube audiences, yet analysis of the 391 most popular science, engineering and mathematics-themed channels reveals a conspicuous absence of female communicators, with the hosts of just 32 of these channels presenting as female...
July 1, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Steven Gil
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
August 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Mike Michael
This exploratory article considers the implications of a particular genre - YouTube videos of iPhone destruction - for the Citizen Science and Public Understanding of Science/Public Engagement with Science and Technology. Situating this genre within a broader TV tradition of 'destructive testing' programmes, there is a description of the forms of destruction visited upon the iPhone, and an analysis of the features shared by the videos (e.g. mode of address, enactments of the experiment). Drawing on the notion of the 'idiotic', there is a discussion of the genre that aims to treat its evident lack of scientific and citizenly 'seriousness' productively...
August 2018: Public Understanding of Science
John C Besley, Anthony Dudo, Shupei Yuan
This study looks at how United States-based academic scientists from five professional scientific societies think about eight different communication objectives. The degree to which scientists say they would prioritize these objectives in the context of face-to-face public engagement is statistically predicted using the scientists' attitudes, normative beliefs, and efficacy beliefs, as well as demographics and past communication activity, training, and past thinking about the objectives. The data allow for questions about the degree to which such variables consistently predict views about objectives...
August 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Montaña Cámara, Ana Muñoz van den Eynde, José A López Cerezo
Using data obtained from Spanish surveys on the public perception of science, this article presents a critical review of current practices of population profile segmentation, including the one-dimensional representation of perceived risks and benefits and of the systematic underestimation of critical attitudes to the social impact of science and technology. We use discriminant analysis to detect a somewhat hidden cluster in the Spanish population which we call 'critical engagers'. These individuals are critically and socially responsible and are not reticent about expressing concern regarding scientific-technological change...
August 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Kathrin Braun, Sabine Könninger
The article discusses a recent systemic turn in public participation in science studies. It reviews the main lines of criticism brought forward in science, technology and society towards public participation in science discourse and argues that much of it refers to the field's preoccupation with isolated, stage-managed minipublics. It then discusses a series of efforts in science, technology and society, and other fields to study public participation in a more systemic or holistic perspective. The article advances the argument that there are different ways of conceptualizing such a perspective, not all of which are well equipped to account for contestation, conflict and power...
August 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Melanie Smallman
Over the past 10 years, numerous public debates on new and emerging science and technologies have taken place in the United Kingdom. In this article, we characterise the discourses emerging from these debates and compare them to the discourses in analogous expert scientific and policy reports. We find that while the public is broadly supportive of new scientific developments, they see the risks and social and ethical issues associated with them as unpredictable but inherent parts of the developments. In contrast, the scientific experts and policymakers see risks and social and ethical issues as manageable and quantifiable with more research and knowledge...
August 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Vincenzo Pavone, Kirstie Ball, Sara Degli Esposti, Sally Dibb, Elvira Santiago-Gómez
This article investigates the normative and procedural criteria adopted by European citizens to assess the acceptability of surveillance-oriented security technologies. It draws on qualitative data gathered at 12 citizen summits in nine European countries. The analysis identifies 10 criteria, generated by citizens themselves, for a socially informed security policy. These criteria not only reveal the conditions, purposes and operation rules that would make current European security policies and technologies more consistent with citizens' priorities...
August 2018: Public Understanding of Science
David R Johnson, Elaine Howard Ecklund, Di Di, Kirstin R W Matthews
Drawing on 48 in-depth interviews conducted with biologists and physicists at universities in the United Kingdom, this study examines scientists' perceptions of the role celebrity scientists play in socially contentious public debates. We examine Richard Dawkins' involvement in public debates related to the relationship between science and religion as a case to analyze scientists' perceptions of the role celebrity scientists play in the public sphere and the implications of celebrity science for the practice of science communication...
July 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Carly M Maynard, Simon Shackley
There has been a growing trend towards incorporating short, educational films as part of research funding and project proposals. Researchers and developers in CO2 capture and storage are using films to communicate outcomes, but such films can be influenced by experiences and values of the producers. We document the content and presentation of seven online CO2 capture and storage films to determine how framing occurs and its influence on the tone of films. The core frame presents CO2 capture and storage as a potential solution to an imminent crisis in climatic warming and lack of a sustainable energy supply...
July 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Paulo Savaget, Liliana Acero
Deterministic theory and discourse on sociotechnical progress ignore the existence of multiple and equally viable pathways towards progress, obscure socioeconomic and environmental conflicting interests and values, and overshadow socially inclusive deliberative choices about policy strategies. Demystifying techno-determinism, by incorporating a plurality of understandings to policy appraisal, becomes a matter of not only democratic accountability but also of analytical rigour. This article analyses the normative and ontological understandings on scientific and technological pathways among a group of experts interviewed at one key Directorate of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, using Q-methodology...
July 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Bernard Lightman
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
July 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Branden B Johnson
Publicized disputes between groups of scientists may force lay choices about groups' credibility. One possible, little studied, credibility cue is vote-counting (proportions of scientists on either side): for example, "97%" of climate scientists believe in anthropogenic climate change. An online sample of 2600 Americans read a mock article about a scientific dispute, in a 13 (proportions: 100%-0%, 99%-1%, … 50%-50%, … 1%-99%, 0%-100% for Positions A and B, respectively) × 8 (scenarios: for example, dietary salt, dark matter) between-person experiment...
July 2018: Public Understanding of Science
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