Choice behavior and demand for alternative genetically engineered foods: a neuroeconomics investigation
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Adoption of new technologies is not only a function of what is technically and scientifically feasible, but also of what consumers and farmers want and will accept. Consumer aversion to so-called first generation genetically engineered (GE) crops has slowed its adoption in many countries and has led to growing markets for non-GE food in the United States. New genetic and plant breeding techniques are emerging that have the potential to accomplish similar outcomes as first generation GE crops, but in a manner that is potentially more acceptable to consumers. However, at present, it remains unclear how much consumers know about these new genetic technologies, and how information might alter consumer preferences. Thus, this is a timely issue due to lack of studies assessing how consumers respond to the new "bioengineered" labeling system, recently proposed by the USDA to market GE foods.The long-term goal of this project is to contribute to research in decision-making to understand consumer behavioral responses to different plant breeding technologies and genetically engineered foods. In particular, this project uses economic experiments on food choice and neurophysiological data from eye tracking, facial expressions to assess emotions, and electroencephalography to determine how consumers evaluate the new "bioengineered" label introduced by the USDA. We also evaluate consumer responses to alternative Genetic Engineering (GE) breeding techniques, and demand for different GE foods such as Transgenic-GM, Cisgenic-GM, and Gene-Edited foods.