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Title: When the facts are just not enough: Credibly communicating about risk is riskier when emotions run high and time is short

Abstract

When discussing risk with people, commonly subject matter experts believe that conveying the facts will be enough to allow people to assess a risk and respond rationally to that risk. Because of this expectation, experts often become exasperated by the seemingly illogical way people assess personal risk and choose to manage that risk. In crisis situations when the risk information is less defined and choices must be made within impossible time constraints, the thought processes may be even more susceptible to faulty heuristics. Understanding the perception of risk is essential to understanding why the public becomes more or less upset by events. This article explores the psychological underpinnings of risk assessment within emotionally laden events and the risk communication practices that may facilitate subject matter experts to provide the facts in a manner so they can be more certain those facts are being heard. Source credibility is foundational to risk communication practices. The public meeting is one example in which these best practices can be exercised. Risks are risky because risk perceptions differ and the psychosocial environment in which risk is discussed complicates making risk decisions. Experts who want to influence the actions of the public related to a threatmore » or risk should understand that decisions often involve emotional as well as logical components. The media and other social entities will also influence the risk context. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's crisis and emergency-risk communication (CERC) principles are intended to increase credibility and recognize emotional components of an event. During a risk event, CERC works to calm emotions and increase trust which can help people apply the expertise being offered by response officials.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
21587792
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 254; Journal Issue: 2; Conference: TRAC 2008/2009 meeting: 2008 Toxicology and Risk Assessment Conference;2009 Toxicology and Risk Assessment Conference, West Chester, OH (United States);West Chester, OH (United States), 14-17 Apr 2008;27-30 Apr 2009; Other Information: DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2010.10.023; PII: S0041-008X(10)00416-3; Copyright (c) 2011 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 0041-008X
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; COMMUNICATIONS; CONTROL; DISEASES; HAZARDS; HUMAN POPULATIONS; RISK ASSESSMENT; POPULATIONS

Citation Formats

Reynolds, Barbara J., E-mail: Bsr0@cdc.gov. When the facts are just not enough: Credibly communicating about risk is riskier when emotions run high and time is short. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.1016/j.taap.2010.10.023.
Reynolds, Barbara J., E-mail: Bsr0@cdc.gov. When the facts are just not enough: Credibly communicating about risk is riskier when emotions run high and time is short. United States. doi:10.1016/j.taap.2010.10.023.
Reynolds, Barbara J., E-mail: Bsr0@cdc.gov. Fri . "When the facts are just not enough: Credibly communicating about risk is riskier when emotions run high and time is short". United States. doi:10.1016/j.taap.2010.10.023.
@article{osti_21587792,
title = {When the facts are just not enough: Credibly communicating about risk is riskier when emotions run high and time is short},
author = {Reynolds, Barbara J., E-mail: Bsr0@cdc.gov},
abstractNote = {When discussing risk with people, commonly subject matter experts believe that conveying the facts will be enough to allow people to assess a risk and respond rationally to that risk. Because of this expectation, experts often become exasperated by the seemingly illogical way people assess personal risk and choose to manage that risk. In crisis situations when the risk information is less defined and choices must be made within impossible time constraints, the thought processes may be even more susceptible to faulty heuristics. Understanding the perception of risk is essential to understanding why the public becomes more or less upset by events. This article explores the psychological underpinnings of risk assessment within emotionally laden events and the risk communication practices that may facilitate subject matter experts to provide the facts in a manner so they can be more certain those facts are being heard. Source credibility is foundational to risk communication practices. The public meeting is one example in which these best practices can be exercised. Risks are risky because risk perceptions differ and the psychosocial environment in which risk is discussed complicates making risk decisions. Experts who want to influence the actions of the public related to a threat or risk should understand that decisions often involve emotional as well as logical components. The media and other social entities will also influence the risk context. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's crisis and emergency-risk communication (CERC) principles are intended to increase credibility and recognize emotional components of an event. During a risk event, CERC works to calm emotions and increase trust which can help people apply the expertise being offered by response officials.},
doi = {10.1016/j.taap.2010.10.023},
journal = {Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology},
issn = {0041-008X},
number = 2,
volume = 254,
place = {United States},
year = {2011},
month = {7}
}