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Abstract

Several studies evidence the role of media in influencing public perception towards genetically modified organisms, while visual communication has been scarcely investigated. This paper aims at evaluating the exposure of Italian population to scary GMO-related images. A set of 517 images collected through Google are classified considering fearful attributes and an index that accounts for the scary impact (SI) of these images is built. Then through an ordered logistic regression we estimate the relationship between the SIIndex and a set of variables that describes the context in which images appear. Results reveal that the first (and most viewed) Google result images contain the most frightful contents. In addition, agri-food sector in Italy is strongly oriented in offering a negative representation of genetically modified organisms. Exposure to scary images could be a factor that affects the negative perception of GMOs in Italy.

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