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Barriers to Building Trust when Communicating about Agricultural Biotechnology: The Role of Confirmation Bias

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Title: Barriers to Building Trust when Communicating about Agricultural Biotechnology: The Role of Confirmation Bias
Author: Pribic, Lana
Department: Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics
Program: Food, Agriculture and Resource Economics
Advisor: Boecker, AndreasGrygorczyk, Alexandra
Abstract: The current debate surrounding agricultural biotechnology (i.e. GM foods) is polarized and a more balance conversation is needed. This thesis investigates communication about agricultural biotechnology. A critical review of related literature indicates that trust can be built between agricultural organizations and consumers through public engagement that considers public concerns and addresses their outrage. In the literature, shared value based communication is deemed important for building trust. This thesis builds upon the literature by introducing confirmation bias as a potential barrier to building trust with shared values and investigates how it might be overcome. Two factors are presented as moderators of confirmation bias: exposure to shared values based communication and format of presentation. These two factors are implemented as treatments in an experimental design where participants (n=501) read various articles about a fictitious GM food product. A two-way 2x2 ANOVA analysis is applied to answer the research questions. Findings suggest that prior attitudes play a significant role in influencing people to view a more balanced selection of articles.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/10314
Date: 2017-04-20


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