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Research article2019Peer reviewed

The perception of crop protection: Explicit vs. implicit association of the public and in agriculture

Roemer, Ulf; Schaak, Henning; Musshoff, Oliver


In the public discourse as well as in the agricultural sector itself, crop protection is a controversial discussion topic. So far, no study investigates the implicit association of crop protection methods. Therefore, this study aims to create a better understanding of the attitudes of both the public and agricultural sector by investigating implicit associations towards chemical, genetically modified, and mechanical crop protection. The implicit association was measured in an online survey using a single-target implicit association test. The test was conducted by a total of 658 participants: 284 public participants, 233 conventional agricultural students and 141 students of organic agriculture, representing future farmers and decision makers in the agricultural sector. Explicit attitudes are captured through survey techniques. Results reveal opposing explicit attitudes towards chemical and genetically modified crop protection for our sub-samples. Furthermore, the results demonstrate opposing associations. For example, a positive explicit and negative implicit association is prominent between the public and mechanical crop protection, as well as for conventional agricultural students towards chemical, genetically modified and mechanical crop protection. The explicit-implicit conflict of the conventional agricultural students could be due to their strategic answering behavior, in which explicit statements are adjusted to present conventional agricultural production practices in a positive light. Thus, attitudes on controversial topics, which are based solely on surveys, should be critically scrutinized.


Agriculture; Crop protection; Implicit association; Strategic answering behavior

Published in

Journal of Environmental Psychology
2019, Volume: 66, article number: 101346Publisher: ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD

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