Why rational argument fails the genetic modification (GM) debate

MALLINSON, Lucy, RUSSELL, Jean, CAMERON, Duncan D., TON, Jurriaan, HORTON, Peter and BARKER, Margo E. (2018). Why rational argument fails the genetic modification (GM) debate. Food Security, 10 (5), 1145-1161.

Mallinson2018_Article_WhyRationalArgumentFailsTheGen.pdf - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12571...
Open Access URL: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs1... (Published version)
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-018-0832-1
Related URLs:


    AbstractGenetic 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.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: ** From Springer Nature via Jisc Publications Router **Journal IDs: pissn 1876-4517; eissn 1876-4525 **Article IDs: publisher-id: s12571-018-0832-1; manuscript: 832 **History: received 03-01-2018; submitted 03-01-2018; accepted 14-08-2018; ppub 10-2018; epub 01-10-2018
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Original Paper, Genetic modification debate, Attitudinal survey, Rationality, Affect, Food
    Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Business School > Department of Service Sector Management
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-018-0832-1
    Page Range: 1145-1161
    SWORD Depositor: Margaret Boot
    Depositing User: Margaret Boot
    Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2018 12:19
    Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 20:30
    URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23081

    Actions (login required)

    View Item View Item


    Downloads per month over past year

    View more statistics