Trust in the source of received information as a factor related to public perception of shale gas drilling
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Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland
Warwick University, Coventry, United Kingdom
University of Houston-Downtown, Houston, USA
Submission date: 2016-08-22
Final revision date: 2016-11-15
Acceptance date: 2016-11-16
Online publication date: 2016-11-29
Publication date: 2016-12-05
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2016;4(4):240-252
Three studies were carried out to examine whether trust in sources of information on technology is related to positive attitudes toward shale gas drilling. Factors we controlled for included: scientific knowledge, universalism and security as personal values, attitudes towards science, personal and group identity fusion, political views, and valence of the media information people received. We assumed hypothesis 1, that trust in the source of the information would be a significant predictor of positive attitudes toward shale gas, above and beyond other variables we controlled for (study 1). Also, we stated hypothesis 2, that trust in the source of information on technology in question would be related to more positive attitudes toward shale gas when more positive information is provided, and to more negative perception of gas drilling when less positive information is presented. Thus, we expected an interaction effect between trust and valence of information presented to participants (studies 2 and 3). Participants completed questionnaires in Poland (studies 1 and 2) and the USA (study 3). They where recruited from communities in regions where shale gas industry could potentially be developed (study 2) or has been developed (study 3). The results showed: (a) a significant relationship between trust in negative information on shale gas and negative attitudes toward extraction; (b) a significant interaction between trust and valence of information on shale gas. That is, trust in the source of information was related to more positive attitudes toward shale gas when a positive view is provided, and to more negative attitudes when undesirable information is presented.
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