The Perception of Risk by Paul Slovic

By Paul Slovic

The idea that of danger is an outgrowth of our society's nice difficulty approximately dealing with the hazards of recent existence. The notion of possibility brings jointly the paintings of Paul Slovic, one of many world's top analysts of possibility, possibility notion and hazard administration, to envision the space among specialist perspectives of chance and public perceptions. Ordered chronologically, it permits the reader to determine the evolution of our knowing of such perceptions, from early experiences picking out public misconceptions of probability to contemporary paintings that acknowledges the significance and legitimacy of fairness, belief, energy and different value-laden matters underlying public drawback.

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Particular emphasis is given to a comparison between a decision theory that espouses maximization of expected utility as a normative guideline and a conceptualization of bounded rationality that has both normative and descriptive intent. The next section presents evidence from the psychological laboratory and data from field observations of adjustment to natural hazards to document the usefulness of the notion of bounded rationality as a framework for understanding adjustment to hazards. Whenever possible, related data from laboratory and field are juxtaposed to highlight the generality and importance of these phenomena.

For a period of one year, each hospital recorded the days on which more than 60% of the babies born were boys. Which hospital do you think recorded more such days? Check one: ¨ the larger hospital; ¨ the smaller hospital; Decision Processes, Rationality and Adjustment to Natural Hazards ¨ 11 about the same (ie, number of days were within 5% of each other). About 24% of the subjects chose the first answer, 20% chose the second answer and 56% selected the third. The correct answer is, of course, the smaller hospital.

In other words, the inverse relationship between risk and benefit evaluations occurs because they are derived from a common affective source. Although it is tempting to conclude that these studies demonstrate that laypeople’s perceptions of risk are derived from emotion rather than reason, and hence should not be respected, such a conclusion is incorrect. Research shows that affective and emotional processes interact with reason-based analysis in all normal thinking and, indeed, are essential to rationality (Damasio, 1994).

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