Value predispositions as perceptual filters: Comparing of public attitudes toward nanotechnology in the United States and Singapore

Xuan Liang, Shirley S. Ho, Dominique Brossard, Michael A. Xenos, Dietram A. Scheufele, Ashley A. Anderson, Xiaoming Hao, Xiaoyu He

This study compares public attitudes toward nanotechnology in the United States and Singapore, using large-scale survey data in both countries. Results indicate that Singaporeans tend to be more knowledgeable about and familiar with nanotechnology than the U.S. public. Singaporeans tend to perceive greater benefits and fewer potential risks of nanotechnology, and to indicate greater support for government funding for nanotechnology than the U.S. public. Between the two countries, perceived familiarity with nanotechnology and the benefits and risks of the emerging technology tend to be interpreted differently through the lens of value predispositions (religiosity and deference to scientific authority) and therefore they indirectly affect public support. Specifically, the U.S. public tends to use religiosity to interpret benefits and Singaporeans are inclined to use religiosity to think about risks. Deference to scientific authority also moderates the impact of perceived familiarity with nanotechnology on funding support for the technology among the U.S. public.

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