Perceived familiarity plays an important role in helping laypeople make well-informed policy decisions, thereby facilitating technological developments. However, this knowledge component is often overlooked in extant literature. Hence, this study draws upon the knowledge gap hypothesis to investigate predictors for the public’s perceived familiarity with nuclear energy in Malaysia — an under-studied context in nascent phases of nuclear energy development. A nationally representative survey of 1,000 Malaysians attested to the knowledge gap hypothesis. Education served as a better predictor for perceived familiarity than household income. Attention to television news, interpersonal discussion, and news elaboration were positively related to perceived familiarity. Notably, several three-way interactions were found: Increased attention to television news and interpersonal discussion consistently amplified perceived familiarity gaps regardless of laypeople’s education levels. Meanwhile, increased attention to newspapers and interpersonal discussion mitigated perceived familiarity gaps only among highly educated laypeople. The findings extended the knowledge gap hypothesis by incorporating perceived familiarity and news elaboration in the underrepresented context of nuclear energy in Malaysia. Additionally, the findings informed policymakers regarding the impacts of education while notifying newsmakers about the effectiveness of public education across media platforms. Directions for future research are also provided.
|Publication status||Published - 5 Aug 2021|
|Event||Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) 2021 104th Annual Conference - Virtual|
Duration: 4 Aug 2021 → 7 Aug 2021
|Conference||Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) 2021 104th Annual Conference|
|Abbreviated title||AEJMC 2021|
|Period||4/08/21 → 7/08/21|