Differences in risk perception between hazards and between individuals
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How people think about a hazard often deviates from experts’ assessment of its probability and severity. The aim of this chapter is to clarify how people perceive risks. We thereby focus on two important research lines: (1) research on the psychometric paradigm, which explains variations between the perceptions of different risks, and (2) research on factors that may determine an individual’s perception of a risk (i.e., perceived benefits, trust, knowledge, affective associations, values, and fairness). Findings from studies about various risks (e.g., genetically modified organisms, food additives, and climate change) are reviewed in order to provide practical implications for risk management and communication. Overall, this chapter shows that the roles of benefit perception, trust, knowledge, affective associations, personal values, and fairness are not always straightforward; different factors appear involved in the perception of different hazards. We recommend practitioners, when they encounter a new hazard, to consult previous studies about similar hazards in order to identify the factors that describe the public’s perception of the new