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Affekt und Wahrnehmung von nichtionisierender Strahlung: Implikationen für die Risikokommunikation.

English title Affect and Perception of Non-Ionizing Radiation: Implication for risk communication
Applicant Siegrist Michael
Number 113354
Funding scheme NRP 57 Non-Ionising Radiation - Health and Environment
Research institution Consumer Behavior Institute for Environmental Decisions IED ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.04.2007 - 31.03.2010
Approved amount 173'078.00
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Keywords (5)

attitudes; EMF ; IAT; risk perception; risk communication

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Affect and perception of non-ionising radiation: Implications for risk communication

In recent years, it has been suggested that affect may play an important role in risk perception. The affect heuristic has been introduced. This theoretical framework distinguishes two modes of thinking, the experiential system and the analytical system. The analytical system relies on probabilities, logical reasoning and evidence. The experiential system relies on images, metaphors and narratives. It seems plausible that lay people may use the experiential system and not the analytic system when they are asked to evaluate a set of hazards. In most studies examining how lay people perceive non-ionising radiation (NIR) hazards, the role of affect has been neglected. However, recent research shows that affect may play an important role in the evolution of attitudes and opinions on NIR.

The affect evoked by various NIR sources will be measured using the Implicit Association Test (IAT), an instrument that measures implicit attitudes and beliefs by assessing the response latencies of automatic evaluations. An experimental study will test how different forms of risk communication influence the affect evoked. Finally, a survey will address the question of what affect is associated with mobile phone base stations and power lines in the general population.

This research projects examines the importance of affect in shaping attitudes and opinions toward NIR. Risk communication strategies usually focus on the information that should be conveyed to the public, but trust and other affect-related elements are often neglected. However, these "soft" factors may be crucial to successful risk communication. The research will further advance our understanding of what form of affect is evoked by various technologies and how affect influences risk perception.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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