Italian Psychological Association

ABC-Salt researchers from CIRPA (Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca in Psicologia Ambientaleattended the national congress of the Italian Association of Psychology in Rome this September, with a contribution called ‘An innovative procedure to promote the social acceptance of technologies in the sustainability field‘. It was scheduled within the section, ‘Sustainability and environmental psychology’.

While discussing the socio-economic and environmental evaluation of biofuel, social acceptance emerges as a critical step for biofuel development, production and distribution. It becomes evident these factors have been widely underestimated in social psychology and in many other sciences.

The concept of acceptance is itself problematic in that it can be analysed at multiple levels: political acceptance at government levels, stakeholder acceptance from different organizations and public acceptance in the form of consumers and individual citizens. There is much data to be collected here, and it is a wide-reaching topic involving many complex factors, such as the perception of risks and benefits linked to new technology. For example, public knowledge of a technology influences its acceptance.

Within Task 2.5 of the project, CIRPA has developed a mixed-method procedure aimed at mapping political and organizational factors relating to the ABC-Salt’s activity area, measuring both the interest and influence of different stakeholders quantitatively. A two-phase process has been used. First, a computational text analysis method, the Structural Topic Model, has been applied to measure the match between the public textual description of each stakeholder’s activity and the corresponding specific one given by ABC-Salt biofuel technology. 

The information has been quantified in terms of an Interest Indicator (of each stakeholder towards ABC-Salt). Secondly, a social network analysis has been applied in online social exchanges among the stakeholders (i.e. the selected list of relevant political and organisational actors) in order to quantify an Influence Indicator (see Figure 1 below).

D2.4 map
Figure 1. Synthesis diagram by CIRPA for Deliverable 2.4

These two indicators have been used to map all stakeholders within each country along the two dimensions space (Interest by Influence), so that ABC-Salt’s stakeholders can be organised in four main different categories based on their low vs. high Interest score and low vs. high influence scores (as depicted in Figure 1). 

Full details are presently available within D2.4 and a draft is presently under preparation as a contribution to be submitted to a scientific journal.