The politicization of science is a phenomenon that has sparked a great deal of attention in recent years. Nonetheless, few studies directly explore how frames that highlight politicization affect public support for scientific adaptations. We study how frames that highlight politicization affect support for using nuclear power, and test our hypotheses with two experiments. We find, in one study, that politicizing science reduces support for nuclear power and renders arguments about the environmental benefits of nuclear energy invalid, regardless of whether there is a reference to consensus scientific evidence. We find, in a second study, that reference to the potential health risks associated with using nuclear power also decreases support in the presence of additional frames that highlight either science’s progress or its politicization. In the end, our findings suggest that a status-quo bias prevails that, under some circumstances, can serve as a significant impediment to generating public support for scientific innovations.

You do not currently have access to this article.