Despite communication efforts developed to educate the public about genetic modification (GM) science designed to ensure consumers are making educated purchasing decisions, most consumers do not seek out information about GM science and make emotional purchasing decisions. GM supporters and opponents can also be very vocal about their opinions, having an impact on those within their social realms of influence. Using opinion leadership theory, this study sought to identify GM opinion leaders within the U.S. who consider themselves to be outspoken and a source of information for GM science. An online survey was deployed with the purpose of identifying GM opinion leaders, determining their views on GM science, identifying where they go for information, and determining how they want to learn so that Extension professionals can better serve their needs. The findings imply GM science opinion leaders are younger, white or African American men, with a high average family household income, that are well educated. The GM science opinion leaders have a slightly negative attitude toward GM and want to learn about GM science from universities researching GM science and organizations in support of GM science through online mediums. Recommendations are offered for how Extension professionals can reach this audience.
Lamm, A. J., Taylor, M. R., Rumble, J. N., & Ellis, J. D. (2019). Targeting Extension Programs to Opinion Leaders Guiding Genetic Modification Discussions. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 7(1), 4. https://scholarsjunction.msstate.edu/jhse/vol7/iss1/4
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