Interdisciplinary Research Group 3: Risk Perception and Social Response

IRG3 Research Highlights

Will nanotechnologies experience public backlash and stigma when they are developed and disseminated that could limit the realization of their potential economic and/or social benefits? The answer to this deceptively simple question hinges on a complex set of social, political, economic, and cultural factors that are likely to drive sustainability and acceptance or controversy and failure. In addition to economic issues such as job creation or loss, primary focal points of public concern are likely to be risk, regulation, trust, responsibility, and justice, and the degree to which experts share, anticipate, and address these concerns is a powerful predictor of the likelihood of ensuing controversy.

IRG 3 conducts novel social research on formative nanotech risk and benefit perceptions through a well calibrated set of mixed qualitative and quantitative social science research methods aimed at studying the views and beliefs about emerging nanotechnologies by multiple parties. More

IRG 3 comprises: Barbara Herr Harthorn, PI and Group Leader; Nick Pidgeon, Group Co-Leader (Cardiff), Terre Satterfield , Group Co-Leader (University of British Columbia). Team members: Edwina Barvosa (UCSB), Christian Beaudrie (University of British Columbia), Bruce Bimber (UCSB), Francesca Bray (University of Edinburgh), Karl Bryant (SUNY-New Paltz), Meredith Conroy (Occidental College), Joseph Conti (University of Wisconsin), Lauren Copeland (UCSB), Adam Corner (Cardiff University), Rachel Cranfill (UCSB), Jennifer Earl (UCSB), Brenda Egolf (Lehigh University), Cassandra Engeman (UCSB), Sharon Friedman (Lehigh University), Robin Gregory (Decision Research),  Hillary Haldane (Quinnipiac University), Shannon Hanna (UCSB), Patricia Holden (UCSB), Milind Kandlikar (University of British Columbia), Miriam Metzger (UCSB), Anton Pitts (University of British Columbia), Jennifer Rogers-Brown (Long Island University), Christine Shearer (UCSB), Paul Slovic (Decision Research).

Research Projects: IRG3 researchers seek to understand the interplay of complex factors influencing public and expert perceptions of nanotechnologies through the following studies:

IRG 3-1: Expert Judgments about Nanotechnologies’ Benefits and Risks

IRG 3-2: Public Participation in Nanotechnology R&D: Upstream Engagement and Deliberation Research

IRG 3-3: Emergent Public Perceptions of Benefits and Risks 

IRG 3-4: Industry risk perception study (International survey)

IRG 3-5: Variation in the Framing of Nano.

IRG 3-6: Anchoring Effects in Judgments about Public Policy.

IRG 3-7: The Politics of Consumer Choice.