Journal of Public Policy & Marketing
As direct-to-consumer marketing of medical genetic tests grows in popularity, there is an increasing need to better understand the ethical and public policy implications of such products. The complexity of genetic tests raises serious concerns about whether consumers possess the knowledge to make sound decisions about their use. This research examines the effects of educational intervention and feedback on consumers' genetic literacy and calibration -- the gap between consumers' actual knowledge and how much they think they know. The authors find that consumers' genetic knowledge was generally low and that people tended to underestimate their knowledge level. Furthermore, consumers' perceived rather than actual knowledge levels drove attitude and purchase intention. Regarding the effect of educational intervention, exposure to an online educational module improved both genetic knowledge and calibration. Offering instant feedback resulted in greater knowledge gain than delayed feedback. The worst learning outcome occurred when feedback was both delayed and brief. On the basis of these findings, the authors offer recommendations for formulating ethically sound public policies in this area.
Original Publication Citation
Pearson, Y., & Liu-Thompkins, Y. (2012). Consuming direct-to-consumer genetic tests: The role of genetic literacy and knowledge calibration. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 31(1), 42. doi:10.1509/jppm.10.066
Pearson, Yvette E. and Liu-Thompkins, Yuping, "Consuming Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests: The Role of Genetic Literacy and Knowledge Calibration" (2012). Philosophy Faculty Publications. 45.