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Does Personality Trump Values in Explaining Risk Perception? An Analysis of Tweets about Genetically Modified Organisms

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Title: Does Personality Trump Values in Explaining Risk Perception? An Analysis of Tweets about Genetically Modified Organisms
Author: Whittingham, Nathaniel
Department: Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics
Program: Food, Agriculture and Resource Economics
Advisor: Boecker, AndreasGrygorczyk, Alexandra
Abstract: Laypeople’s risk perception deviates from that of experts. While 88% of AAAS scientists agree that GMO foods are safe, only 37% of the American public agree. Research on other scientific debates identify intelligence, values, and personality as fundamental factors driving GMO risk perception. While values and personality are typically measured through surveys, the lexicon hypothesis states that values and personality are imbedded in the language individuals use. Approximately 100,000 Twitter messages were collected for search terms “Arctic Apple”, “Innate Potato” and “GMO Safety” in 2016. Data from 522 twitter accounts was submitted to the IBM Watson platform to obtain personality and values scores. Results indicate both are highly correlated with perceived GMO safety when used in separate estimations. However, personality almost fully mediates the relationship between values and perceived safety. This implies that an individual’s GMO risk perception is more deeply rooted in personality traits than currently assumed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/11549
Date: 2017-09
Rights: Attribution 2.5 Canada


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Attribution 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution 2.5 Canada