The Perception of Risk by Paul Slovic

By Paul Slovic

The concept that of danger is an outgrowth of our society's nice challenge approximately dealing with the hazards of contemporary existence. The notion of probability brings jointly the paintings of Paul Slovic, one of many world's best analysts of threat, danger conception and threat administration, to envision the space among professional perspectives of danger and public perceptions. Ordered chronologically, it permits the reader to determine the evolution of our realizing of such perceptions, from early reports selecting public misconceptions of danger to fresh paintings that acknowledges the significance and legitimacy of fairness, belief, strength and different value-laden matters underlying public quandary.

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Worldviews According to Dake (1991; 1992) worldviews, defined as general attitudes toward the world and its social organization, are ‘orienting dispositions’, serving to guide people’s responses in complex situations. As such, they were found by Dake and others to be instrumental in determining people’s risk attitudes and perceptions. Our studies extended and confirmed Dake’s observations. A national survey analyzed by Peters and Slovic (1996) and reported in Chapter 25 found that people holding an egalitarian preference for wealth and power to be distributed equally in society had higher perceived risk for a wide range of hazards and were particularly concerned about nuclear power.

The psychological principles and data will be reviewed, followed by speculations about the relevance of this work for understanding adjustment to natural hazards. Wherever possible, evidence from field surveys of human response to natural hazards will be presented to further highlight the relevance and generality of these phenomena. The description of research on information processing is organized around several basic issues of concern to a decision-maker. First, he wonders what will happen or how likely it is to happen, and his use of information to answer these questions involves him in probabilistic tasks such as inference, prediction, probability estimation and diagnosis.

For an alternative view, the reader is encouraged to examine the work of Earle and Cvetkovich (1995). Page Intentionally Left Blank 1 Decision Processes, Rationality and Adjustment to Natural Hazards Paul Slovic, Howard Kunreuther and Gilbert F White The distress and disruption caused by extreme natural events has stimulated considerable interest in understanding and improving the decision-making processes that determine a manager’s adjustment to natural hazards. Technological solutions to the problem of coping with hazards have typically been justified by a computation of benefits and costs that assume the people involved will behave in what the policy-maker considers to be an economically rational way.

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