Keywords: genetically modified foods, GM foods, agricultural biotechnology, public opinion, consumer opinion, public understanding, science, knowledge deficit model, acceptance, attitudes, perceptions, public approval, knowledge variables, agricultural biotechnology
An empirical investigation of the role of knowledge in public opinion about GM food
The research presented here examines the hypothesis that the most effective way to increase public approval of GM foods is to provide education about them. To do this, a national telephone survey was conducted in the USA, which included multiple measures of knowledge about GM foods. The results indicate that all of the knowledge measures were positively related to approval, such that more knowledge was related to more approval. However, when the knowledge variables were simultaneously entered in a regression model, only one of the measures, a scale of knowledge about potentially threatening aspects of GM food, was significantly related to approval. The overall model predicted only 8% of the variance in approval, leading to the conclusion that knowledge may be just one of the many factors that influence opinions of GM food.