Public Understanding and Communication

Research theme of the Philosophy Group with COM
Keywords:  Dynamics of PublicOpinion regarding Science and Technology; Trust and Authority of Science, Media Landscapes, Risk Perception

Science is no longer regarded automatically as an authoritative arbiter in societal disputes and as playing a positive role in defining and solving societal problems. In fact, scientists are often confronted with apparent distrust and negative responses towards new technologies and science-based solutions are frequently regarded as causing new problems. In this research line we seek to understand how communication and interaction patterns between scientists, citizens, government, industry and other stakeholders influence dynamics of trust and credibility, whereby we have a special interest in the role of open and easy access and spread of information through Internet and social media. In addition, we are interested in the processes of opinion formation and risk evaluation, including the cognitive and social processes that affect how people interpret experiences, make sense of scientific insights, or perceive risks in connection with new technologies. On the basis of these insights, methods for improving the interaction between the different stakeholders are being developed.