By Paul Slovic
The idea that of chance is an outgrowth of our society's nice difficulty approximately dealing with the risks of contemporary existence. The conception of hazard brings jointly the paintings of Paul Slovic, one of many world's prime analysts of chance, danger notion and possibility administration, to ascertain the space among specialist perspectives of chance and public perceptions. Ordered chronologically, it permits the reader to determine the evolution of our realizing of such perceptions, from early reviews making a choice on public misconceptions of hazard to fresh paintings that acknowledges the significance and legitimacy of fairness, belief, energy and different value-laden concerns underlying public obstacle.
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But when perception and cognition intervene between the decision-maker and his objective environment, this model no longer proves adequate. We need a description of the choice process that recognizes that alternatives are not given but must be sought; and a description that takes into account the arduous task of determining what consequences will follow on each alternative. As an alternative to the maximization hypothesis, Simon introduced the theory of ‘bounded rationality’, which asserts that the cognitive limitations of the decision-maker force him to construct a simplified model of the world to deal with it.
If trust is lacking, no form or process of communication will be satisfactory (Fessenden-Raden, Fitchen & Heath, 1987). Chapter 19 describes an empirical study by Slovic (1993) demonstrating an ‘asymmetry principle’. Trust in risk management is easier to destroy than to create. The study goes on to argue that this asymmetry, which is based upon psychological reactions, is amplified through the workings of our open and highly participatory democratic system of government, with the media and special interest groups being quite skilled in bringing trust-destroying news to public attention.
This question is vital to understanding the complex processes by which man comes to terms with risk in nature, and it has wider implications. It bears upon the degree to which experience with natural hazards can be extrapolated to other sectors of behavior. Should comparable evidence be obtained from laboratory and field research, the validity and importance of both endeavors will be enhanced. In keeping with these points, the recent psychological literature is examined here for evidence bearing upon man’s information-processing limitations since it may relate to hazard adjustment.
The Perception of Risk by Paul Slovic