Socio-psychological determinants of public acceptance of technologies: A review

Public Underst Sci. 2012 Oct;21(7):782-95. doi: 10.1177/0963662510392485. Epub 2011 Mar 1.


Historically, many technologies have been associated with societal controversies, leading to public rejection of their use. It is therefore important to understand the psychological determinants of societal acceptance of emerging technologies. Socio-psychological determinants of public acceptance of 10 (controversial) technologies are reviewed. The results indicate that there has been an increased interest in and focus on public acceptance of technologies in academia. Risk, trust, perceived benefit, knowledge, individual differences and attitude were found to have been a focus of research in 60% of articles. The results of correspondence analysis suggest that some determinants have been used more extensively in association with some technologies compared to others. As the published research has predominantly been conducted in North America and Europe, research across different cultural contexts internationally is required if globally relevant conclusions are to be reached. Implications for future research are discussed.

Keywords: controversy; nanotechnology; public acceptance; socio-psychological determinants; technology.