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Fairness, affect, trust and acceptance of GM plants (FATAG)

Applicant Siegrist Michael
Number 115663
Funding scheme NRP 59 Benefits and Risks of the Deliberate Release of Genetically Modified Plants
Research institution Klinische Psychologie Psychologisches Institut Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.08.2007 - 31.07.2011
Approved amount 257'253.00
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Keywords (5)

Trust; GMO; GNAT; Fairness; Risk perseption

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Fairness, concerns and confidence in the way genetic engineering is communicatedThe future of genetic engineering depends to a large extent on its acceptance by the general public. What role does the fairness of the decision-making process play? How important are the public’s concerns and confidence as factors?BackgroundTo date, the main concern of those who have communicated the potential risks of genetic engineering has been to inform the public. Little attention has been devoted to the role played by fair decision-making processes or the public’s concerns and confidence. It is assumed that fairness could increase the public’s acceptance of technologies that are associated with risks. A decision-making process is perceived to be fair if the authorities are credible, treat all stakeholders with respect and allow them to air their views.ObjectivesThis study seeks to examine the role of fairness, concerns and confidence in how genetic engineering is communicated. One of the main questions is whether a fair decision-making process automatically leads to greater acceptance. It may be that the result is the only decisive factor - which could be the case if people consider the use of genetic engineering to be a major moral issue.MethodsA representative number of people from the German-speaking part of Switzerland will be presented with fictitious stories about the release of genetically modified (GM) plants. The stories will describe either a fair or an unfair decision-making process, and the ending will vary, with the plants being released in one version and not in the other. The subjects will then be asked about their feelings, their confidence, how important the topic is to them and whether they are for or against GM plants. The same questions will also be put to a number of people who live in the vicinity of the large-scale field trial that is being carried out with GM wheat. In addition, a new, computerized procedure will be developed for recording individuals’ attitudes towards GM plants.Significance“Soft” factors such as fairness, concerns and confidence can have a powerful effect on the public’s acceptance of GM plants. Without this acceptance, genetic engineering will have a hard time becoming a mainstream tool in Swiss agriculture. This is why it is important to know how these factors affect acceptance.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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