Agricultural technology continues to evolve to meet the demands of a growing world, but previous advancements in agricultural technology have been met with resistance. Improved science communication efforts can assist in bridging the gap between expert and lay opinion to improve reception of scientific information. Using the framework of the heuristic model of persuasion, the purpose of this study was to examine the impact of emphasizing elements of source credibility – trustworthiness and expertise – and the gender of the source on perceptions of source credibility. A sample of 122 undergraduate students were exposed to one of the four possible developed message treatments. Data collection took place in a laboratory setting using an online instrument that had a randomly-assigned stimulus research design. The results indicated the treatment conditions had higher mean scores for source credibility than the control. Further inferential analysis, however, showed the differences to be non-significant. One significant finding showed the gender of the source can influence perceptions of credibility. This suggests merit in using female sources when presenting scientific information to the Millennial population. While choosing credible sources to present information is important, more research is needed regarding the effect of emphasizing various credibility components and the role of source gender on perceptions of source credibility.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.