Published: April 29, 2020

There is widespread agreement among scientists that geneti-cally  modified  foods  are  safe  to  consume and  have  the  potential   to   provide   substantial   benefits   to   humankind3. However,  many  people  still  harbour  concerns  about  them  or  oppose  their  use4,5.  In  a  nationally  representative  sample  of  US adults, we find that as extremity of opposition to and con-cern  about  genetically  modified  foods  increases,  objective  knowledge  about  science  and  genetics  decreases,  but  per-ceived understanding of genetically modified foods increases. Extreme  opponents  know  the  least,  but  think  they  know  the  most.  Moreover,  the  relationship  between  self-assessed  and  objective  knowledge  shifts  from  positive  to  negative  at  high  levels of opposition. Similar results were obtained in a paral-lel study with representative samples from the United States, France and Germany, and in a study testing attitudes about a medical  application  of  genetic  engineering  technology  (gene  therapy). This pattern did not emerge, however, for attitudes and beliefs about climate change.

Marketing: Fernbach, P. M., Light, N., Scott, S. E., Inbar, Y., & Rozin, P. (2019). Extreme opponents of genetically modified foods know the least but think they know the most. Nature Human Behaviour

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