Skip to main content Accessibility help

The effect of information regarding multi-attributes on consumers' choices of GM products

  • Amir Heiman (a1)


Previous research has found that presenting consumers with information regarding multi-attributes of a product tends to reduce the product's overall evaluation relative to a situation wherein only one attribute is presented. We find that the same phenomenon also holds for consumers' perceptions regarding attributes associated with genetically modified (GM) products. When given information on health (nutrients) and water use of certain crops, consumers reduce their quality perceptions compared to the situation wherein they are given only health or only water use information. In addition to replicating the findings on this phenomenon in another product category – that of GM products – we extend the theory by showing that multi-attribute information results in lower perceptions of attributes in addition to deflated total evaluation. This finding provides another explanation of consumers' resistance to GM products beyond risk and negative predisposition. Our findings can be used to guide policy makers in designing educational campaigns.



Hide All
Alba, J.W. and Hutchinson, J.W. (2000), ‘Knowledge calibration: what consumers know and what they think they know’, Journal of Consumer Research 27(2): 123157.
Anderson, N.H. (1965), ‘Averaging versus adding as a stimulus-combination rule in impression formation’, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 70(4): 394400.
Asch, S.E. (1946), ‘Forming impressions of personality’, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 41: 258290.
Bagozzi, R.P. (1996), ‘The role of arousal in the creation and control of the halo effect in attitude models’, Psychology and Marketing 13(3): 235264.
Bell, D.E. (1982), ‘Regret in decision making under uncertainty’, Operations Research 30: 961981.
Berger, P.L. (1997), Redeeming Laughter: The Comic Dimension of Human Experience, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
Boyer, M. and Kihlstrom, R. (eds) (1984), Bayesian Models in Economic Theory, Amsterdam: North Holland.
Brock, T.C. and Brannon, L.A. (1992), ‘Liberalization of commodity theory’, Basic Applied Social Psychology 13: 135144.
Brough, A.R. and Chernev, A. (2012), ‘When opposites detract: categorical reasoning and subtractive valuations of product combinations’, Journal of Consumer Research 39(2): 399414.
Campbell, M.C. and Goodstein, R.C. (2001), ‘The moderating effect of perceived risk on consumers' evaluations of product incongruity: preference for the norm’, Journal of Consumer Research 28(3): 439449.
Carter, C.A. and Gruère, G.P. (2003), ‘Mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods: does it really provide consumer choice?’, AgBioForum 6(1 & 2): 6870.
Chaiken, S. (1980), ‘Heuristic versus systematic information processing and the use of source versus message cues in persuasion’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39: 752766.
Chakravarti, A. and Janiszewski, C. (2004), ‘The influence of generic advertising on brand preferences’, Journal of Consumer Research 30(4): 487501.
Chandon, P. and Wansink, B. (2007), ‘The biasing health halos of fast-food restaurant health claims: lower calorie estimates and higher side-dish consumption intentions’, Journal of Consumer Research 34: 301314.
Charry, T. (1997), ‘Monsanto recruits the horticulturist of the San Diego Zoo to pitch its popular herbicide’, New York Times, 29 May, Business Day section, [Available at]
Chern, W.S., Rickertsen, K., Tsuboi, N., and Fu, T. (2002), ‘Consumer acceptance and willingness to pay for genetically modified vegetable oil and salmon: a multiple-country assessment’, AgBioForum 5(3): 105112.
Chernev, A. (2011a), ‘Semantic anchoring in sequential evaluations of vices and virtues’, Journal of Consumer Research 37(5): 761774.
Chernev, A. (2011b), ‘The dieter's paradox’, Journal of Consumer Psychology 21(2): 178183.
Chernev, A. and Gal, D. (2010), ‘Categorization effects in value judgments: averaging bias in evaluating combinations of vices and virtues’, Journal of Marketing Research 47(4): 738747.
Chua, H.F., Gonzalez, R., Taylor, S.F., Welsh, R.C., and Liberzon, I. (2009), ‘Decision-related loss: regret and disappointment’, Neuroimage 47(4): 20312040.
Clive, J. (2012), ‘Global status of commercialized biotech/GM crops: 2012’, ISAAA Brief 44, Ithaca, NY: ISAAA.
Eagly, A.H., Ashmore, R.D., Makhijani, M.G., and Longo, L.C. (1991), ‘What is beautiful is good, but …: a meta-analytic review of research on the physical attractiveness stereotype’, Psychological Bulletin 110: 109128.
Galbraith, K. (2013), ‘Attitudes on crops are modifying’, New York Times, 10 July, Energy & Environment section, [Available at]
Ginsberg, J.M and Bloom, P.N. (2004), ‘Choosing the right green marketing strategy’, MIT Sloan Management Review, Fall: 79–84, [Available at]
Hall, S. (1999), ‘Monsanto ads condemned’, The Guardian, 1 March, Science section, [Available at]
Hamilton, S.F., Sunding, D.L., and Zilberman, D. (2003), ‘Public goods and the value of product quality regulations: the case of food safety’, Journal of Public Economic 87(3–4): 799817.
Heiman, A. and Lowengart, O. (2008), ‘The effect of information about health hazards on demand for frequently purchased commodities’, International Journal of Research in Marketing 25(4): 310318.
Heiman, A. and Lowengart, O. (2011), ‘The effects of information about health hazards in food on consumers' choice process’, Journal of Econometrics 162(1): 140147.
Hertwig, R. and Todd, P.M. (2000), ‘Biases to the left, fallacies to the right, stuck in the middle with null hypothesis significance testing. Commentary on Krueger on social-bias’, Psycoloquy 11(28), [Available at]
Hogarth, R.M. and Einhorn, H.J. (1992), ‘Order effects in belief updating: the belief adjustment model’, Cognitive Psychology 24: 155.
Huang, J., Rozelle, S., Pray, C., and Wang, Q. (2002), ‘Plant biotechnology in China’, Science 295(25): 674677.
Huffman, W.E. (2010), ‘Consumer acceptance of genetically modified foods: traits, labels and diverse information’, Working Paper No. 10029, Department of Economics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.
Huffman, W.E., Shogren, J.F., Rousu, M., and Tegene, A. (2003), ‘Consumer willingness to pay for genetically modified food labels in a market with diverse information: evidence from experimental auctions’, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 28(3): 481502.
Jin, G. (2005), ‘Competition and disclosure incentives: an empirical study of HMOs’, RAND Journal of Economics 26: 93113.
Just, D.R., Wolf, S.A., and Zilberman, D. (2006), ‘Effect of information formats on information services: analysis of four selected agricultural commodities in the USA’, Agricultural Economics 35: 289301.
Kahneman, D. and Tversky, A. (1972), ‘Subjective probability: a judgment of representiveness’, Cognitive Psychology 3: 430454.
Kayande, U., Roberts, J.H., Lilien, G.L., and Fong, D.K.H. (2007), ‘Mapping the bounds of incoherence: how far can you go and how does it affect your brand?’, Marketing Science 26(4): 504513.
Krishna, V.V. and Qaim, M. (2008), ‘Consumer attitudes toward GM food and pesticide residues in India’, Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy 30(2): 233251.
Krosnick, J.A. and Presser, S. (2010), ‘Question and questionnaire design’, in Marsden, P.V. and Wright, J.D. (eds), Handbook of Survey Research, 2nd edn Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing, p. 268.
Meyers-Levy, J. and Tybout, A.M. (1989), ‘Schema congruity as a basis for product evaluation’, Journal of Consumer Research 16: 3954.
Moschini, G., Lapan, H., and Sobolevsky, A. (2000), ‘Roundup ready soybeans and welfare effects in the soybean complex’, Agribusiness 16(1): 3355.
Nelson, P. (1974), ‘Advertising as information’, Journal of Political Economy 69: 213223.
Nestle, M. (2002), Food Politics: How The Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Nisbett, R.E. and Wilson, T.D. (1977), ‘The halo effect: evidence for unconscious alteration of judgments’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 35(4): 250256.
Noseworthy, T.J. and Trudel, R. (2011), ‘Looks interesting, but what does it do? Evaluation of incongruent product form depends on positioning’, Journal of Marketing Research 48(6): 10081019.
Pechmann, C. (1992), ‘Predicting when two-sided ads will be more effective than one-sided ads: the role of correlational and correspondent inferences’, Journal of Marketing Research 29(4): 441453.
Peterson, R.A. (2001), ‘On the use of college students in social science research: insights from a second order meta analysis’, Journal of Consumer Research 28(3): 450461.
Phipps, R.H. and Park, J.R. (2002), ‘Environmental benefits of genetically modified crops: global and European perspectives on their ability to reduce pesticide use’, Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences 11: 118.
Qaim, M. and Zilberman, D. (2003), ‘Yield effects of genetically modified crops in developing countries’, Science 299: 900.
Roininen, K., Lahteenmaki, L., and Tuorila, H. (1999), ‘Quantification of consumer attitudes to health and hedonic characteristics of foods’, Appetite 33: 7188.
Rousu, M., Huffman, W.E., Shogren, J.F., and Tegene, A. (2004), ‘Estimating the public value of conflicting information: the case of genetically modified foods’, Land Economics 80(1): 125135.
Rousu, M., Huffman, W.E., Shogren, J.F., and Tegene, A. (2007), ‘Effects and value of verifiable information in a controversial market: evidence from lab auctions of genetically modified food’, Economic Inquiry 45: 409432.
Schuldt, J.P. and Schwarz, N. (2010), ‘The “organic” path to obesity? Organic claims influence calorie judgments and exercise recommendations’, Judgment and Decision Making 5: 144150.
Storr, W. (2013), ‘Mark Lynas: truth, treachery and GM food’, The Guardian, Environment section: The Observer, [Available at]
Sun, M. (2011), ‘Disclosing multiple product attributes’, Journal of Economics & Management Strategy 20(1): 195224.
Tversky, A. and Kahneman, D. (1974), ‘Judgment under uncertainty: heuristics and biases’, Science 185(4157): 11241131.
Tybout, A.M., Calder, B.J., and Sternthal, B. (1981), ‘Using information processing theory to design marketing strategies’, Journal of Marketing Research 18(1): 7379.
Venkateasan, M. (1973), ‘Cognitive consistency and novelty seeking’, in Ward, S. and Robertson, T.S. (eds), Consumer Behavior: Theoretical Sources, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, pp. 334384.
Viscusi, W.K. (1985), ‘Are individuals Bayesian decision makers?’, American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings 75: 381–385.
Wan-Chen Lee, J. and Wansink, B. (2011), ‘Do organic snack foods taste differently because of their label? Yes, but personality also matters’, Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, Ithaca, NY.
Wansink, B. (2005), Marketing Nutrition: Soy, Functional Foods, Biotechnology and Obesity, Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press.
Weaver, K., Garcia, S.M., and Schwarz, N. (2012), ‘The presenter's paradox’, Journal of Consumer Research 39: 445460.
Weber, E.U. and Johnson, E.J. (2005), ‘Constructing preferences from memory’, in Slovic, P. and Lichtenstein, S. (eds), The Construction of Preference, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Zuckerman, A. and Chaiken, S. (1988), ‘A heuristic-systematic processing analysis of the effectiveness of product warning labels’, Psychology and Marketing 15(7): 621642.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

The effect of information regarding multi-attributes on consumers' choices of GM products

  • Amir Heiman (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.