Impact of Abstract Versus Concrete Conceptualization of Genetic Modification (GM) Technology on Public Perceptions

Meghnaa Tallapragada, Bruce W. Hardy, Evan Lybrand, William K. Hallman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Based on the scholarship of abstract/concrete cognition, mental schema, and the integrated model of behavior change, this study found that using concrete over abstract language increased support for specific genetically modified (GM) applications and GM in general, and improved intentions to purchase products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). An online survey with an embedded 3 × 2 experiment was conducted using a national sample of U.S. adults (N = 1,470). Participants were randomly assigned to conditions that varied in abstract/concrete conceptualization of GMOs and were prompted to assess GM risk and benefit perceptions with respect to human health and the environment. Regardless of whether they assessed risks or benefits, participants who assessed GMOs through concrete terms compared to abstract terms showed an increase in positive emotions, which in turn increased their support for specific GM applications and GM in general, and their intentions to buy products with GMOs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)976-991
Number of pages16
JournalRisk Analysis
Volume41
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)

Keywords

  • Abstract
  • concrete
  • genetic modification

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