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Why rational argument fails the genetic modification (GM) debate

Published on Oct 1, 2018in Food Security2.15
· DOI :10.1007/s12571-018-0832-1
Lucy Mallinson1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of Sheffield),
Jean Russell18
Estimated H-index: 18
(University of Sheffield)
+ 3 AuthorsMargo E. Barker20
Estimated H-index: 20
(SHU: Sheffield Hallam University)
Abstract
Genetic modification (GM) of crops provides a methodology for the agricultural improvements needed to deliver global food security. However, public opposition to GM-food is great. The debate has tended to risk communication, but here we show through study of a large nationally representative sample of British adults that public acceptance of GM-food has social, cultural and affective contexts. Regression models showed that metaphysical beliefs about the sanctity of food and an emotional dislike of GM-food were primary negative determinants, while belief in the value of science and favourable evaluation of the benefits-to-risks of GM-food were secondary positive determinants. Although institutional trust, general knowledge of the GM-food debate and belief in the eco-friendliness of GM-food were all associated with acceptance, their influence was minor. While a belief in the sanctity of food had a direct inverse effect on GM acceptance, belief in the value of science was largely mediated through favourable perception of benefits-to-risks. Furthermore, segmentation analysis demonstrated that anxiety about GM-food had social and cultural antecedents, with white men being least anxious and older vegetarian women being most anxious. Rational argument alone about the risks and benefits of GM-food is unlikely to change public perceptions of GM-technology.
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References38
Newest
#1Justus Wesseler (WUR: Wageningen University and Research Centre)H-Index: 22
#2Richard Danvers Smart (TUM: Technische Universität München)H-Index: 3
Last.David Zilberman (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 61
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#1Sydney E. Scott (UPenn: University of Pennsylvania)H-Index: 5
#2Yoel Inbar (U of T: University of Toronto)H-Index: 19
Last.Paul Rozin (UPenn: University of Pennsylvania)H-Index: 81
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#1Phil Mohr (University of Adelaide)H-Index: 20
#2Sinead Golley (CSIRO: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)H-Index: 3
#1Adele Coppola (University of Naples Federico II)H-Index: 7
#2Fabio Verneau (University of Naples Federico II)H-Index: 8
#1Toni M. Cook (University of Sheffield)H-Index: 1
#2Jean Russell (University of Sheffield)H-Index: 18
Last.Margo E. Barker (University of Sheffield)H-Index: 20
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#1Margo E. Barker (Royal Hallamshire Hospital)H-Index: 20
#2K. McNeir (Royal Hallamshire Hospital)H-Index: 1
Last.Jean Russell (University of Sheffield)H-Index: 18
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