The stability of risk and benefit perceptions: a longitudinal study assessing the perception of biotechnology

M Connor, M Siegrist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The study of public perceptions is considered to be important for making sound policy decisions, since the public decides which products will enter and sustain in the market. Stability of public perceptions is important for policy-makers; only if public attitudes and perceptions remain constant, policy-makers will be able to take them into account. The aim of the present study was to examine the stability of participants’ risk and benefit perceptions of gene technology over a period of two years. In spring, 2008 and in spring, 2010, the same sample of participants filled out an identical questionnaire. Results of structural equation modelling show that risk and benefit perceptions of gene technology applications are moderately stable (r = .5–.7). Furthermore, results show that people distinguish between medical, plant and food applications and applications involving animals when evaluating the risk of gene technology. When evaluating the benefits, participants also take consumer-related benefits into account, such as enhancement of functional properties. Results of the present study suggest that risk research should regularly examine people’s risk perceptions in order to gain a clearer picture of the dynamics of people’s perception and preferences not only of novel technologies, but also of entrenched technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461 - 475
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Risk Research
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 8 Jan 2015

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biotechnology
longitudinal study
risk research
animal
food
questionnaire
market

Keywords

  • Biotechnology
  • Longitudinal
  • Risk perception
  • Stability

Cite this

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The stability of risk and benefit perceptions: a longitudinal study assessing the perception of biotechnology. / Connor, M; Siegrist, M.

In: Journal of Risk Research, Vol. 19, No. 4, 08.01.2015, p. 461 - 475.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - The study of public perceptions is considered to be important for making sound policy decisions, since the public decides which products will enter and sustain in the market. Stability of public perceptions is important for policy-makers; only if public attitudes and perceptions remain constant, policy-makers will be able to take them into account. The aim of the present study was to examine the stability of participants’ risk and benefit perceptions of gene technology over a period of two years. In spring, 2008 and in spring, 2010, the same sample of participants filled out an identical questionnaire. Results of structural equation modelling show that risk and benefit perceptions of gene technology applications are moderately stable (r = .5–.7). Furthermore, results show that people distinguish between medical, plant and food applications and applications involving animals when evaluating the risk of gene technology. When evaluating the benefits, participants also take consumer-related benefits into account, such as enhancement of functional properties. Results of the present study suggest that risk research should regularly examine people’s risk perceptions in order to gain a clearer picture of the dynamics of people’s perception and preferences not only of novel technologies, but also of entrenched technologies.

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