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    Risk perception

  • The framework from which the public perceives risk is broader and richer than that of risk assessment. The following five factors influence how the public judges the acceptability of a risk assessed at a given magnitude.
  • Voluntariness : A risk that is voluntarily taken is more acceptable than a risk of the same magnitude that taken involuntarily. Thus, driving one's car to a public hearing on the risks of a proposed nuclear power plant may be riskier than living next to the plant. But driving to the public hearings is done voluntarily while living next to the plant is suffered involuntarily. According to studies, a voluntary risk is as much as 1000 times more acceptable than an involuntary risk of the same magnitude.
  • Control : Closely related to voluntariness is control. A risk under one's control (or under the control of someone trusted) is more acceptable than a risk of the same magnitude that is not under control. Charles Perrow, in Normal Accidents argues against nuclear energy technology because its design allows for components that are tightly coupled and interact with nonlinear patterns of causality. These two characteristics make it possible for small events to start chain reactions that issue into large scale disasters. Because these small events cannot be isolated (they are “tightly coupled”) and because they interact unpredictably (they display nonlinear causality), they escape control and lead to unacceptable risks.
  • Perceived/Expected Benefits : A risk of a given magnitude is more acceptable if it comes accompanied with substantial expected benefits. One takes the risk of driving to the hearings on the proposed nuclear plant because the benefits of getting crucial information on this project outweigh the risks of having a car accident. Riding a motorcycle is a risky venture. But the benefits received from this activity in the form of enjoyment make the risk more acceptable than a risk of the same magnitude accompanied with less benefits.
  • Unknown Factors : A risk that is not understood is less acceptable than one that is well understood. Riding a bicycle is a risky venture but, because its risks are well known, it is more acceptable than other activities accompanied by risks of similar magnitudes. This factor is highly pertinent to EMFs (electro-magnetic fields). While EMFs are associated with certain illnesses like leukemia, their effects are not well known and are not understood by the public. This unknown element makes living near EMF producing technologies less acceptable.
  • Dread Factors : A risk may be known and its causal relation to certain illnesses well understood. Nevertheless it may be less acceptable because the condition it causes is one that is highly dreaded. EMFs, because they have been associated with leukemia in children, are much less acceptable because of this "dread factor." The causes of radiation sickness are well known as are the stages of the illness. But because this kind of illness is highly dreaded, accompanying risks are less acceptable than other risks of the same magnitude with less of the dread factor. Again, compare crashing on a bicycle with coming down with cancer to get an idea of how dread permeates the perception of risk.
  • Against Paternalism : Consider the possibility that predictability is one component of rationality. Then test this hypothesis in the cases presented at the beginning of this module. Can the risks posed by each project be examined in terms voluntariness, susceptibility to control, expected benefits, unknown factors, and dread factors? If so, then the public perception of this risk is rational because it can be predicted and understood. Thus, even though members of the public might find other risks of the same--or even greater--magnitude more acceptable, these perceptual factors would render the public’s judgment intelligible and predictable. If all of this is so (and you will be testing this hypothesis in the exercises below) then paternalism on the part of the expert would not be justified. Furthermore, these insights into how risk is perceived by the public should provide you with valuable insight into how to communicate risk to the public.

Questions & Answers

how can chip be made from sand
Eke Reply
are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
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