The Aversion to Tampering with Nature (ATN) Scale: Individual Differences in (Dis)comfort with Altering the Natural World

AbstractPeople differ in their comfort with tampering with the natural world. Although some see altering nature as a sign of human progress, others see it as dangerous or hubristic. Across four studies, we investigate discomfort with tampering with the natural world. To do so, we develop the Aversion to Tampering with Nature (ATN) Scale, a short scale that is the first to directly measure this discomfort. We identify six activities that people believe tamper with nature (geoengineering, genetically modified organisms, pesticides, cloning, gene therapy, and nanoparticles) and show that ATN scores are associated with opposition to these activities. Furthermore, the ATN Scale predicts actual behavior: donations to an anti ‐tampering cause. We demonstrate that ATN is related to previously identified constructs including trust in technology, naturalness bias, purity values, disgust sensitivity, aversion to playing God, and environmental beliefs and values. By illuminating who is concerned about tampering with nature and what predicts these beliefs, the ATN Scale provides opportunities to better understand public opposition to technological innovations, consumer preferences for “natural” products, and strategies for science communication.
Source: Risk Analysis - Category: International Medicine & Public Health Authors: Tags: Original Research Article Source Type: research

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