New & Emerging Technologies

Reducing Losses to Late Blight

Late blight disease

As part of a larger, multidisciplinary research collaboration, our component of this USDA funded project examines what motivates or impedes growers from sharing information about late blight, as well as how the perceived fairness of scientific authorities relates to public support for agricultural biotechnology among U.S. adults. With regard to the latter, we look at this in the context of the prevention of crop disease and late blight, in particular. This work in particular seeks to “unpack” the notion of benefits in the perception of risk. Often, risk perception of new and emerging technologies is expressed as a cost versus benefit outcome, but the question of who benefits and who bears the costs has been less examined. Distributive fairness, or the fairness of outcomes, offers a more robust and nuanced framework in which to examine perceived benefits and perhaps offer a more precise explanation for findings. Our results show that fairness plays an important role alongside perceptions of risks and benefits in public support for agricultural biotechnology.

Selected publications

  • Liao, W., Yuan, Y., & McComas, K. A. (2016). Communal risk information sharing: Motivations behind voluntary information sharing for reducing interdependent risks in a community. Communication Research.
  • Liao, W., McComas, K., & Yuan, C. (2016) The Influence of Unrestricted Information Exchange on Willingness to Share Risk Information with Outsiders. Human Communication Research. DOI: 10.1111/hcre.12104

Genetically Modified Foods (GMF)

  • Selected publications
    • Lu, H., McComas, K. A., & Besley, J. (2016). Messages promoting genetic modification of crops in the context of climate change: Evidence for psychological reactance. Appetite. 108, 104-116. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.09.026
    • Dixon, G., McComas, K. A., Besley, J., & Steinhardt, J. (2016). Transparency in the food aisle: The influence of procedural justice on views about labeling of GM foods. Journal of Risk Research, 19, 1158-1171.
    • McComas, K., Besley, J., & Steinhardt, J. (2014). Factors influencing U.S. consumer support for genetic modification to prevent crop disease. Appetite, 78C, 8 – 14. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.02.006

Contribution to The Conversation