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Working paper

Structure of social attitudes to science and technology: national and individual determinants

Савелькаева А. С., Polyakova V., Fursov K.
Attitudes towards science and technology has been drawing the attention of many researchers focusing their search on specific aspects of public understanding of science, measuring risk perception associated with the development and wider dissemination of new technologies, engagement in decision making about controversial research issues. While some authors prefer to focus on the prevalence of particular attitudes towards S&T, trying to explain the differences between countries by variances in their economic development, others search for specific individual factors underpinning their development like values or beliefs. In our paper, we attempt to bring together these perspectives and comprehensively analyze both individual and national factors that define public opinion on S&T by considering the example of the attitude that characterizes optimistic or pessimistic perception. The method of multilevel regression analysis is used for this purpose. It was shown that inclusion into the model both micro and macro-level indicators is helpful to explain the differences between countries and allow us to better understand the “pure effects” of certain social determinants of public attitudes towards science and technology.