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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

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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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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