Perceived familiarity or factual knowledge? Comparing operationalizations of scientific understanding

Pete Ladwig, Kajsa E. Dalrymple, Dominique Brossard, Dietram A. Scheufele, Elizabeth Corley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study compares two frequently used operationalizations of understanding: factual knowledge and perceived familiarity. The authors argue that these measurements-which have been used interchangeably in past research-are conceptually distinct and should be treated as such. Using hierarchical linear ordinary least squares regression, this study provides evidence that factual knowledge and perceived familiarity are only slightly correlated and are influenced differently by predicting variables, such as media use and cognitive processing variables. As a result, the use of these measures may result in different assessments of the levels of public understanding, which has important implications for future policy decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)761-774
Number of pages14
JournalScience and Public Policy
Volume39
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

Keywords

  • Familiarity
  • Knowledge
  • Media
  • Science
  • Understanding
  • nanotechnology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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