A Causal Model Explaining the Perception and Acceptance of Gene Technology1


  • 1

    The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Claudia Roth and Andreas Urwyler in data collection.

2 Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Michael Siegrist, Psychologisches Institut, Abteilung Sozialpsychologie, Plattenstrasse 14, 8032 Zurich, Switzerland.


This study examined factors affecting perceived risks and acceptance of gene technology. Based on the reviewed literature, a causal model was proposed. The plausibility of the postulated model was tested using structural equation modeling procedures. Participants were randomly selected students from a Swiss university (N= 837). Results indicated that trust in companies and scientists performing gene manipulations have a strong effect on the benefits and risks perceived. When trust was controlled for the inverse relationship between perceived risk and perceived benefit vanished. Furthermore, world views, perceived benefit, and perceived risk each are found to contribute independently to the prediction of acceptance of gene technology. World views and trust appear to play an important role in perceptions of gene technology.