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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

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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