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Structure and Effects of Societal Communication on non-Ionizing Radiation

English title Structure and Effects of Societal Communication on non-Ionizing Radiation
Applicant Schulz Peter
Number 113411
Funding scheme NRP 57 Non-Ionising Radiation - Health and Environment
Research institution New Media in Education Laboratory (NewMinE) Facoltà di scienze della comunicazione Universita della Svizzera italiana
Institution of higher education University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland - SUPSI
Main discipline Communication sciences
Start/End 01.02.2007 - 31.03.2010
Approved amount 166'750.00
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Keywords (2)

risk management ; risk communication

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Structure and effects of societal communication on non-ionising radiation

Background
Risk communication related to non-ionising radiation (NIR) has to take into account that the issue is already a focus of public interest. Knowledge, attitudes, risk assessments, patterns of perception and social structures, such as activist networks, already exist. Any attempt to inform the public about NIR faces the challenges of alerting people to possible health damage without alarming or worrying them needlessly and of putting the risk in perspective without defining it down.

Aim
This study aims at understanding the underlying perceptual and motivational factors that cause possible misperceptions and at developing strategies that enable healthcare professionals and other providers of information to communicate risks related to NIR more effectively. The research will investigate problematic aspects of the communicative processes related to NIR risks. By these means, the following questions are addressed: - How does the general public understand NIR and how does this understanding vary between worried and unworried persons?
- To what extent does source credibility and message strategy influence the opinions of worried and of unworried persons?
- Does the different cultural background have an impact on the evolution of Italian-speaking and Swiss German-speaking persons’ perceptions of NIR risks?

Significance
The study will provide insights on how to design messages that address unjustified fears of NIR. At the same time, the study will examine the interplay of source credibility and message strategy, which has received limited empirical study, particularly as it relates to health communication. Finally, the study will explore the role of micro-cultural variation in Switzerland and its impact on the design of health promotion information in a new context.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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