Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication

First Advisor

Lulu Rodriguez


This study aims to compare two modes of presenting information about food irradiation on audience's recall, attitude and behavioral intentions toward this food safety innovation. The manipulation of a one-page brochure served as the study's experimental treatment. Half of the study's respondents were presented with a brochure that used only text to describe the processes, risks and benefits associated with food irradiation. The other half of the respondents received a brochure that used visuals, combined with text, to describe the same information.

The findings suggest that when readers are presented with risk information using a combination of text and visuals, recall of objective facts is increased. Respondents demonstrated fairly neutral attitudinal dispositions and behavioral intentions toward items related to food irradiation. However, the findings indicate that with a more accessible way of presenting complicated scientific information and technological risks, an audience is better equipped to structure appropriate attitudes and make informed behavioral decisions about a relatively unknown food safety practice.

The results also indicate that using visuals to explain medical, technological, and natural hazards has great influence on knowledge gain. With greater recall, audiences are better positioned to make informed decisions about how to mitigate risks related to safety of the foods they eat. Therefore, developing risk communication messages in ways that cater to the needs of different learners (i.e., those who respond more to text and those who respond more to visuals) is a worthy objective for public investments.


Copyright Owner

Elizabeth Wilson



Date Available


File Format


File Size

72 pages

Included in

Communication Commons