• The effect of a values affirmation intervention on perceived threat of genetically modified organisms

      Marvelli, Cari L. (2017-09)
      By self-affirming core values, individuals appear to be able to assess threatening information more objectively and less defensively (Cohen et al., 2000; Correll, 2000; Steele & Liu, 1983). In spite of a scientific consensus on the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), cognitive and affective constructs known to influence information processing seem to combine to produce a perception of threat, resulting in negative attitudes toward GMOs (Blanke et al., 2015), which can lead to disruptions in research and development related to this biotechnology (Lucht, 2015). The present study attempted to show that threats associated with GMOs would be buffered using a Values Affirmation (VA) intervention. It was further hypothesized that correlations would exist between a) trust in sources and information (TISI) and pre-test GMO attitudes, b) conspiracy ideation (CI) and pre-test GMO attitudes, and c) CI and TISI. It was further hypothesized that CI would predict a significant amount of variance in post-test GMO attitudes. Eighty individuals participated in either an in-person or online version of the study. An ANCOVA revealed that the VA intervention did not significantly affect individuals’ post-test GMO attitudes. However, correlation and regression analyses supported the latter hypotheses. This study was unable to support previous research on the effectiveness of the VA tool in diminishing threat perceptions of a controversial scientific technology, but it did suggest that both CI and TISI are significantly associated with GMO attitudes.
    • I feel, therefore I am: generational differences in moral processing styles

      Rausch, Zachary M. (2021-05)
      Moral decision-making is a core feature of human life. We explored whether generational differences exist in the preference for two types of moral processing styles (the ways in which we integrate moral information and decide to take action): moral reasoning and moral intuition. We analyzed preferences for moral processing styles by using a modified version of the Rational-Experiental Inventory (REI) scale, which was broken down into the Faith in Moral Intuition and Need For Moral Cognition subscales. Preferences for moral intuition and moral reasoning were measured by averaging Faith in Moral Intuition scores and Need for Moral Cognition scores from 120 Generation Z (born after 1996) and 50 Generation X (born between 1965 - 1980) participants. A mediation analysis was also conducted to see if social media usage would explain the expected differences between generations. Gen Z participants scored lower than Gen X participants on Need For Moral Cognition, but no differences emerged on Faith in Moral Intuition. However, the mean difference between Faith in Moral Intuition and Need For Moral Cognition was much larger for Gen X than Gen Z. Social media usage did not mediate the relationship between generation and moral processing styles. It appears that there are generational preferences for moral processing styles, and that moral reasoning is less valued by this younger generation. The reason that these generational differences emerged must be examined in future research.