Talking Biotech: Extreme GMO skeptics know the least about genetics—how should science communicators respond?

Researchers and communicators in biotechnology have experienced it for a long time–the people who oppose genetic engineering frequently know the least about it.  This observation was studied formally by a group of cognitive and social psychologists.

Related article:  Talking Biotech: Corporations corrupt science research? What are real conflicts of interest?

Their conclusion: The people with the most extreme attitudes about genetic engineering also have the least working knowledge about the science behind it.  In this week’s podcast Dr. Philip Fernbach from the University of Colorado discusses the results of the study, along with a deeper discussion into the ramifications of these findings as they apply to science communication.


Link to the paper discussed

Dr. Fernbach’s website:, University of Colorado website

Here is his book:  The Knowledge Illusion: Why we Never Think Alone

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