Scientists should consider public’s values when discussing GMOs, communication experts say

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Scientists’ inability to effectively engage with the public has partly contributed to public misunderstanding of gene technologies. This is according to Dr. Craig Cormick, a renowned science communication expert and author from Australia. This could be attributed to the fact that experts tend to believe that the general public wants to know as much about science as they do.

Speaking during an ISAAA webinar on Challenges of Communicating Gene Technologies held on August 7, 2020, Dr. Cormick said that ‘’Experts need to move away from debating the science and look for the values that underline their audiences’ decisions.” He highlighted the importance of beginning by first understanding the diversity of the public, segmenting audiences within that public by their values, before developing and framing messages that align with those values.

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“Do not downplay people’s concerns and appreciate that. If you are not the right messenger, assign spokespersons your audience trusts to deliver the message,” he added.

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