Hype and Public Trust in Science

Zubin Master, David B. Resnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social scientists have begun elucidating the variables that influence public trust in science, yet little is known about hype in biotechnology and its effects on public trust. Many scholars claim that hyping biotechnology results in a loss of public trust, and possibly public enthusiasm or support for science, because public expectations of the biotechnological promises will be unmet. We argue for the need for empirical research that examines the relationships between hype, public trust, and public enthusiasm/support. We discuss the complexities in designing empirical studies that provide evidence for a causal link between hype, public trust, and public enthusiasm/support, but also illustrate how this may be remedied. Further empirical research on hype and public trust is needed in order to improve public communication of science and to design evidence-based education on the responsible conduct of research for scientists. We conclude that conceptual arguments made on hype and public trust must be nuanced to reflect our current understanding of this relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-335
Number of pages15
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Biotechnology
  • Hype
  • Public support/enthusiasm
  • Public trust
  • Responsible conduct of research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Cite this