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    Responsible risk communication

  • Telling the Truth : Certainly, responsible risk communication should start with the commitment to tell the truth. But the virtue of truthfulness is more complicated than it might seem at a first glance. For example, were an expert to tell nonexperts the whole truth this might confuse them, especially if the account is loaded with complex technical explanations and jargon. Truthfulness might require some simplification (holding some things back or putting them in different terms), judicious comparisons, and the use of concrete images. Thus, the virtue of truthfulness requires (a)understanding the audience and (b) outlining their perceptions, concerns, feelings, and needs. With this in mind, here are some factors that are useful in communicating risk responsibly and truthfully.
  • Know the audience : What is their level of understanding, their needs, and their perceptions. For example, do they perceive the risk as voluntary, under control, accompanied with substantial benefits, accompanied by effects that are well known, and of a low dread factor? The risk perception framework described above will help you to communicate risk in a helpful and responsible manner.
  • Take measures to avoid deceiving the audience : The gap between the expert (those in the know) and the public is sometimes quite large. This creates the temptation to fill that gap with less then truthful content. Avoiding deception requires more than just refraining from telling outright lies. It also requires taking measures to avoid subtle manipulation and unintentional deception.
  • Guard against unintentional deception : (a) Be careful when using rhetorical devises. (b) Use risk comparisons and analogies to provide the public with benchmarks, not to persuade them that because they accept risk X they should accept risk Y. (c) Be sure to point out the limits of comparisons and analogies. (Driving to the public hearing is a risk of a greater magnitude than living next to a nuclear plant but this does not include key factors such as voluntariness, control, and expected benefits. (d) Avoid conflicts of interest. In exercise one below, you will be looking at an example of risk communication taken from the movie Silkwood . Think about whether this communication is reponsible and honest. Do the interests of the risk communicators coincide with those of the audience? Do the interests of the communicators bias the content of the communication in any way? (For example, does the upcoming vote to keep the union play a role in this risk communication act?)

What you will do ...

In this section, you will practice managing and communicating risk information. In managing risk information, you will practice how to empower, inform, and involve the risk-bearing public. In communicating risk, you will practice different ways of helping the public to deliberate on the acceptability of certain risks.

    Exercise one

  • Listen to the doctors communicating the risks associated to exposure to plutonium while working in the Kerr-McGee plant in the movie, Silkwood. How effective is this communicative act? (Explain your assertion.) How truthful is this communicative act? (Is truth about risk value-free scientific information or do values play a crucial role in our deliberations on risk? What kind of values are at stake here?)
  • Listen to Charlie Bloom's presentation to the Milagro citizens' meeting on the economic and social risks associated with the Devine Recreational Center. Describe in detail the audience's reaction. Analyze both the content and style of Bloom's short speech. Does he facilitate or impede the process and substance of deliberation over risk? Rewrite Bloom's speech and deliver it before the class as if they were citizens of Milagro.
  • Paul Slovic pictures a part of the risk perception process in terms of unknown and dread factors. In general, the higher the dread and unknown factors, the less acceptable the risk. Other factors that enter into the public perception of risk are voluntariness, control, expected benefits, and the fairness of the distribution of risks and benefits. Given this depicting of the public's perception of risk, how do you expect the Kerr McGee employees to react to the risk information being presented by the doctors? How will the citizens of Milagro react to the risk information they are receiving on the ethical, social, and economic impacts of the Devine Recreational Project?.

Questions & Answers

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
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
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.
Berger describes sociologists as concerned with
Mueller Reply
what is hormones?
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Source:  OpenStax, Civis project - uprm. OpenStax CNX. Nov 20, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11359/1.4
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