Mechanistic Knowledge and Public Opinion of GMOs

Abstract: 

This study explores how mechanistic learning affects participants’ knowledge and opinions of GMOs, as well as retention of knowledge and opinions. Two surveys were distributed to UNT, undergraduates before and after they read an informational passage on the process of genetic modification and recent research on GMO safety. Responses to multiple choice and free response questions allowed insight into their knowledge and opinions of GMOs. This study was predicated upon a study at the University of California-Berkeley that used mechanistic knowledge to educate participants about the issue of climate change. Like the climate-change study, participants’ knowledge increased after reading the informational passage, and they were more accepting of GMOs even several days after reading the passage. Together, these studies indicate that mechanistic knowledge is a useful tool for educating the public on controversial, scientific issues. 

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