Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 536761
Title Genomics? That is probably GM! The impact a name can have on the interpretation of a technology
Author(s) Boersma, Reginald; Gremmen, Bart
Source Life Sciences, Society and Policy 14 (2018)1. - ISSN 2195-7819
Department(s) Philosophy
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) Expert–lay communication - Knowledge - Prejudice - Public understanding - Science and technology communication
Abstract We investigate how people form attitudes and make decisions without having extensive knowledge about a technology. We argue that it is impossible for people to carefully study all technologies they encounter and that they are forced to use inferences to make decisions. When people are confronted with an intangible abstract technology, the only visible attribute is the name. This name can determine which inferences a person will use. Considering these inferences is important: first, a name will reach consumers before detailed information, if any, will. Second, if detailed information reaches consumers, the hard-to-comprehend information is processed using pre-activated attitudes and beliefs. Using the available literature, we explore the impact a name can have on the interpretation of a technology. We argue that science communication can benefit from trying to develop a name for a technology that activates proper beliefs to guide non-experts to a more meaningful understanding of it.
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