Genetically modified foods are often regarded as “unnatural” and approached with distrust. Commentator Tania Lombrozo considers the psychology behind these reactions.
Why do so many people oppose genetically modified organisms, or GMOs? According to a new paper forthcoming in the journal Trends in Plant Science, it’s because opposition to GMOs taps into deep cognitive biases. These biases conspire to make arguments against GMOs intuitive and compelling, whether or not they’re backed by strong evidence.
The authors of the paper — a mix of philosophers and biologists — turn to research in the cognitive sciences to shed light on the mismatch between the public’s perception of GMOs (which is fairly negative, especially in Europe) and the state of the evidence about their safety (which is fairly positive).