A REVIEW OF THE RISK–PERCEPTION AND
Communicating the recommended individual strategy successfully to the public is outside the scope of this report. But in its design and presentation, we have drawn on the main principles in the risk–perception and risk–communication literature. This appendix provides the more salient lessons from these literatures to build an understanding for how people perceive and behave in response to those perceptions and the information they are provided.
Four main theories have been proffered to explain how individuals process risk information, form risk perceptions, and make decisions about about avoiding or minimizing risk. Together, these theories provide a foundation for considering and coordinating effective communication in high–concern situations (Covello et al., 2001).
The Risk Perception Model defines an individual's perception as a combination of a hazard, defined as the magnitude times the probability of mortality or morbidity, and outrage, which is the perceptual or emotional component of risk such as fear or anxiety (Sandman, 1991; 1993). Several factors directly related to the risk itself determine how we perceive it, as shown in Table D.1.
Risk also includes the subjective evaluation of that risk, and a number of principles from the behavioral and social sciences guide how people make these evaluations. Risk perception determines the level of concern, worry, anger, fear, and hostility, which are the subjective factors that influence how people interpret a threat. How people respond emotionally to perceived hazards (Slovic, Fischhoff, and Lichtenstein, 1990) in turn affects their attitudes and subsequent behaviors.