Are Genetically Modified Foods Safe To Eat Essay

1223 Words 5 Pages
Growing up in very liberal Madison, WI with liberal foodie parents, I have been socialized to believe that Genetically Modified Organisms are not only unsafe but destroying the world. When asked, “Are genetically modified foods safe to eat?” my instinctive reaction is immediately “NO”. That being said, as a college student I take pride in my ability process information and come to a logical conclusion. Logically I know that the majority of scientific findings contradict my beliefs. With these two conflicting points of view I struggled with how to answer this question. My social upbringing and political affiliation are associated with one response, while my intellectual pride is associated with the other. How does one make decisions when conflicting …show more content…
Although I was weary of GMO products, my motivation to be accurate and sound educated in a class setting influenced how I responded. My motivation to be accurate was triggered by the possibility of being graded or judged based upon my response. A study conducted by Prior et al found that it is not that partisans don’t know the correct answer, but they allow their beliefs to interfere with their response. My lack of certainty was not due to lack of knowledge, although that is how I justified it to myself at the time. In a past university course, I had read multiple sources on this subject and had learned that based on the majority of scientific findings GMOs are safe. Being uninformed did not create the problem, rather being hesitant to accept the information. When surveyed partisans may report the condition they wish to be true rather than what they believe to be true (Prior, Sood, and …show more content…
Again this may be an indicator of the positive test strategy. Now wanting to easily give into my biases I actively look for what I called “red flags”, I found many. I questioned many of their claims and did some additional research on some of the organizations that they cited. Their claims turned out to be exaggerated and borderline untrue. Although I was unable to gather support against the safety of GMOs I did find information that supported the notion that they were “BAD”. This article included data that suggested GMOs increase herbicide use and harmed the environment.
According to the theory of motivated reasoning knowledgeable partisans are more likely to come to a biased conclusion. Being highly politically knowledgeable increases partisanship. My interest in this topic and political investment may actually prevent me from concluding the truthful answer. One study on motivated reasoning found that participants with high numeracy (ability to work with numbers and problem solve) were better at solving number problems, but only when the results were inline with their political beliefs (Kahan, Peters, Dawson, & Slovic, 2013). This may be why I found this task so

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