A Methodological Examination of Attitudes Toward Emerging Science and Technology

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Kyoko ItoKazune EzakiTomiko Yamaguchi

Abstract: Emerging science and technology refers to new, unestablished, and not widely recognized science and technology. It is different from existing science and technology that has widely penetrated society and occupies a definite position. The process of social implementation of such new science and technology and the attitudes of the general public toward the science and technology are discussed in several literatures based on the perspective of "symbiogenesis" in which science and society together influence each other. In addition, the general public itself seems to feel the need for science and technology to mutually influence each other.One of the simplest ways to ascertain how emerging science and technology will be accepted in society would be to conduct a questionnaire survey of the general public. However, with regard to such new and uncertain science and technology, the results of the questionnaire survey often indicate that the respondents "do not know" or "are not interested. Furthermore, it is assumed that these opinions have not been established as their own.Based on these backgrounds, we first conducted a questionnaire survey of the general public on emerging science and technology. In addition, in order to obtain opinions using a method different from the questionnaire survey, we conducted an online experiment targeting the general public, referring to the method for expressing opinions on emerging science and technology proposed in our previous research.This study aims to gain insight into the methods and characteristics of asking the general public for their opinions on the emerging science and technology, and to compare the results of a questionnaire survey and an online experiment as a method of investigating attitudes toward the emerging science and technology.In this study, genome-edited crops are taken as a case study as an emerging science and technology. Although social surveys related to genome-edited crops have been conducted in the past, previous studies have shown that the opinions of general public differs depending on the application of the technology. With respect to the conduct of the survey, two methods were used to investigate the public's attitudes toward genome-edited crops. One was an online survey, which included 1,111 respondents. The other was an online experiment in which groups of five people were asked to respond simultaneously and share the results, with 115 participants. Four types of questions were prepared for five genome-edited crops to compare the two methods, and the results of a total of 19 questions were compared. Responses were rated on a 6-point scale from 0 to 5.Overall, the mean of the results was greater for 18 of the 19 questions in the online experiment, with eight questions having a difference of 1.0 or greater. The degree of the differences varied.The "high-meat-volume fish" had the largest difference between "would like to try" and "commercialization," while the "allergen-free buckwheat" had the smallest difference between "would like to try" and "natural-artificial."Future work may include a detailed analysis of the similarity of the overall trends between the questionnaire survey and the online experiment in order to examine what factors are responsible for these differences. This is expected to lead to the proposal of a more appropriate methodology for surveys when emerging science and technology are implemented in society.

Keywords: Online opinion leaning, Survey method, Emerging technologies, Genomeedited crops, Experiment.

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1004487

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