Presentation on theme: "Nano: Reducing Uncertainty SRA 2009 Boston, MA Nanotechnology: Reducing Uncertainty Synthesizing Two Views Grant E. Gardner Ph.D. Candidate - Science Education."— Presentation transcript:
Nano: Reducing Uncertainty SRA 2009 Boston, MA Nanotechnology: Reducing Uncertainty Synthesizing Two Views Grant E. Gardner Ph.D. Candidate - Science Education PCOST Associated Member Society for Risk Analysis Annual Meeting, Boston, MA December 10, 2008
Nano: Reducing Uncertainty SRA 2009 Boston, MA Uncertainty, Knowledge, & Risk Perception How do we reduce uncertainty? Increasing expert knowledge Nanotechnology content Risk factors and hazard likelihoods Decision-making about risk Transfer aspects of that knowledge to the public Communication & Education What can integrated research from communication and education tell us about reducing uncertainty surrounding risk and understanding risk perception of nanotechnology? What do we know and where should we go?
Nano: Reducing Uncertainty SRA 2009 Boston, MA Two Views Public Communication of Science & Technology (PCOST) White Paper for the National Nanotechnology Coordinating Office (NNCO) - Communicating Risk of Emergent Technology in the 21st Century Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education (NUE) initiative to integrate nanotechnology themes into engineering curriculum General engineering Engineering with nanotechnology Nanotechnology engineering & society
Nano: Reducing Uncertainty SRA 2009 Boston, MA When Worlds Collide: Reducing Uncertainty Risk communication Expert: Risk communicator or scientist Target Audience: General public Goals - Scientiating/Public understanding of science Models - Knowledge deficit model Interventions - Public communication event Science education Expert: Instructor Target Audience: Students (undergraduate) Goals - Developing scientific literacy Models - Knowledge & attitudes Interventions - Science-technology-society (STS) & socio-scientific issues (SSI)
Nano: Reducing Uncertainty SRA 2009 Boston, MA Public Knowledge of Nano Knowledge is low and from minimal sources Attitudes toward nano exist and are framed by benefit perception The knowledge-attitude relationship depends on the intervention and the values attached to the technology What is the primary source for nano knowledge in the general public? Are attitudes toward a particular tech or toward S&T in general? How do variables need to be specified? Can knowledge dissemination keep pace with the speed of technological development?
Nano: Reducing Uncertainty SRA 2009 Boston, MA Expert Knowledge of Nano Knowledge gap between expert and general public exists Differential interpretations of uncertainty Uncertainty amplifies perception of risk and promotes precautionary behavior Most science experts don’t concern themselves with the risks of emerging technologies How will positive attitudes translate to behavior when nano consumer products become more widespread? When it comes to nano, how are we to define the experts?
Nano: Reducing Uncertainty SRA 2009 Boston, MA Nature of Science Science knowledge is not equal to content knowledge “Local” knowledge versus global knowledge The nature of uncertainty in science is not well understood How successful is education at teaching uncertainty in NOS? What is “local” knowledge in nano, because it spans multiple science domains? How much knowledge is enough knowledge to sway perceptions? Is there a threshold?
Nano: Reducing Uncertainty SRA 2009 Boston, MA Nature of Nanotechnology Nanotechnology is not a singular technology and does not have a singular class or risks Nanotechnology is “small” and difficult to experience There are no mental models of nanotech Can those applications that are considered “less risky” be used effectively in risk communication and introductory education? How does this inability to directly experience nano affect attitude formation? What is the efficacy of previous emergent tech to understanding nano?
Nano: Reducing Uncertainty SRA 2009 Boston, MA Changing Perceptions Risk perception is resistant to change. Benefit perception may not be. Public engagement has limitations often not seen in formal education Know your audience (motivation, concerns, etc.) How can each of these venues inform each other about public acceptance? How do audiences differ?
Nano: Reducing Uncertainty SRA 2009 Boston, MA Decision-Making About Risk Increase knowledge does not increase decision-making ability Uncertainty breed reliance on heuristics and biases Affect, anchoring & adjustment, availability heuristics How much does knowledge affect not just attitudes but decision making? What are the roles of trust, fear, and belief in mediating perceptual- based decision-making?
Nano: Reducing Uncertainty SRA 2009 Boston, MA Funding This work was supported in part by grants from the National Science Foundation: NSF 0809470: Nanotechnology Interdisciplinary Research Team (NIRT) - Intuitive Toxicology and Public Engagement http://communication.chass.ncsu.edu/nirt/Home.html NSF 0634222: Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education (NUE) - Teaching Nanoscale Engineering Across Undergraduate Disciplines Thanks to: Dr. David M. Berube - Communication Dept. NCSU Dr. M. Gail Jones - Science Education Dept. NCSU
Nano: Reducing Uncertainty SRA 2009 Boston, MA Thank You! Grant E. Gardner North Carolina State University Department of Science Education firstname.lastname@example.org