The effect of GM label variation on perceptions of genetically modified foods
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This thesis investigates the factors which are suggested to affect perceptions of genetically modified (GM) foods. It first tests the extent to which the components of the Theory of Planned Behaviour and perceived `outrage' are able to predict intentions towards buying GM foods using linear regression. It then focuses on how GM label design characteristics and linguistic variations influence perceptions of GM foods including measures of hazard perception and purchase intention using ANOVA repeated measures. Modelling is then used to identify whether label variations affect the components of the Theory of Planned Behaviour, namely attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control or whether their effect is by some other psychological process. As a result of the first six studies a model is proposed to explain the psychological process by which GM label variations affect behavioural intention for a specified product. The last two studies investigate the extent to which the previous findings generalise across products type using four different product types, two natural and two synthetic. The principle finding from this research is that some GM informational label design factors such as GM content, wording and use of the colour red have a strong stable effect across product type, whilst others such as label shape and font size are less consistent. The modelling suggests that GM label variations affect attitudes in particular, and to some extent subjective norms and perceived behavioural control which are then predictive of the behavioural intention. to buy GM foods. This thesis provides recommendations for those wishing to inform the public about the GM status of their product.
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