Crop Biotech Update

Beliefs in Conspiracy Theories About GMOs Can Be Corrected Using the Right Information

September 21, 2022

A study in China that investigated the relationship between information exposure and people's attitudes toward genetically modified organisms (GMOs) provided a localized explanation of the factors affecting the latter and a new theoretical basis for developing GM food campaign strategies.

The study used the stimulus-organism-response model to test the mechanism of information exposure on people's attitudes towards GMOs with conspiracy beliefs as mediating variables. The survey was conducted from February to March 2022 among 518 Chinese adults. Information exposure and people's attitudes toward GMOs were found to be significantly and directly connected. Beliefs in conspiracy theories also played a significant role and this was reinforced by unofficial information exposure. The more specific results are:

  • People's willingness to consume GM foods was reduced by beliefs in conspiracy theories. It also brought discouragement towards the development prospects of GMOs.
  • Beliefs in conspiracy theories weaken when people are exposed to official information. This also increased their willingness to consume GM foods.
  • A person's objective can effectively reduce the negative relationship of conspiracy beliefs with attitudes toward GMO development.
  • A person's level of knowledge had a moderating role in people's attitudes towards GMOs.
  • On the other hand, a person's self-assessed knowledge can enhance the negative relationship between conspiracy beliefs and attitudes toward GMO development.

This new information can help in the development of strategic communication campaigns that involve GMOs and GM foods.

Read the full paper published by Frontiers in Psychology.

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