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Applying the Gateway Belief Model to Genetically Modified Food Perceptions: New Insights and Additional Questions

Journal of Communication

Published online on


The Gateway Belief Model (GBM) suggests that highlighting a scientific consensus is the key to improving beliefs about important scientific issues. However, questions have been raised on how one's perception of a scientific consensus affects his or her personal scientific beliefs. Reporting on 2 online experiments, findings suggest that consensus messages designed to impact beliefs on a controversial scientific issue—genetically modified (GM) foods—affect audience segments in different ways. People with low prior support for GM foods are less affected by a message emphasizing a scientific consensus about GM food safety. Including visual exemplars of a scientific consensus in these messages might make them more salient. However, questions remain on how best to apply the GBM to persuasive science communication.