In many debates on the relation between science and society, especially concerning the acceptance of technology or the perception of its risks, there is an underlying hypothesis: that ignorance generates fear, which in turn generates mistrust or hostility toward science and technology (S&T). The article shows that this hypothesis is questionable. Based on a recent nationwide survey in Brazil, we show that optimistic attitudes about S&T do not depend on people’s educational level, their level of information, or their accessing of related subject matter. On average, respondents who say they have scarce information on the topic display positive attitudes. Those with a higher educational level and who access information display diverse attitudes, which are optimistic in some regards but more critical in others.
public understanding of science; social studies of science and technology; science communication; Brazil