The Perception of Risk

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The concept of risk is an outgrowth of our society's great concern about coping with the dangers of modern life. The Perception of Risk brings together the work of Paul Slovic, one of the world's leading analysts of risk, risk perception and risk management, to examine the gap between expert views of risk and public perceptions. Ordered chronologically, it allows the reader to see the evolution of our understanding of such perceptions, from early studies identifying public misconceptions of risk to recent work that recognizes the importance and legitimacy of equity, trust, power and other value-laden issues underlying public concern.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'An illuminating and important book [that] covers a great deal of ground.'
Harvard Law Review.

'Slovic brings fresh insights on how others think of 'risk'.
Risk Management Reports

'An invaluable collection of articles for those seeking an in-depth analysis of risk perceptions.'
Food, Nutrition and Agriculture

'Everyone, whether a fan of the (extended) psychometric paradigm or not, will like to have in its own library this book as a handy reference.'
Journal of Socio-Economics

'superb...I hope Paul Slovic is already working on a sequel that will fill in the few remaining blanks in his brilliant career.'
Jason Zweig, Journal of Psychology and Financial Markets, 2001.

'Superior' Torbjorn Malmfors, Amazon.

'Paul Slovic is a prolific and persuasive contributor to the literature on risk, with a well-defined perspective, which has informed an incremental and solid output of research and publication.'
Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

'Essentially academic, but very relevant for anyone interested in taking risk seriously'
Long Range Planning

For the past 25 years, Paul Slovic and his colleagues have examined how individuals perceive the risks of living in the modern world. Each chapter of "The Perception of Risk" is a small sample of their research and a comprehensive introduction to risk perception, from early studies identifying gaps between public and expert perceptions to current work that considers the effects of social, political, and cultural factors...A common bibliography and index increase the usefulness of this collection. For anyone wishing to gain an understanding of what drives public perception of risk, this book is essential reading.
Cass R Sunstein
[This] is an illuminating and important book... [that] covers a great deal of ground... In some of [the] most striking chapters Slovic claims that ordinary people display a rival rationality that is worthy of consideration and respect. Insisting that "risk" is not simply a matter of numbers, Slovic argues that a good system of risk regulation should be democratic as well as technocratic — and that it should pay a great deal of attention to what he sees as the structured and sometimes subtle thinking of ordinary people.
in the Harvard Law Review.
Natural Hazards Observer
...contemporary society is enlarging the number and complexity of activities that can degrade the quality of human life and its natural environment at the same time...Thus, measures to assess and manage risks are increasing, and the results are visible in proliferating standards and requirements. The papers in this volume address a wide range of risk perception issues, including decision processes, rationality, and natural hazards; acceptable levels of risk; risk assessment; public information about risk..technological and nuclear risks and public perceptions; and insensitivity to the value of human life.
Journal for Sustainable Waste Management
This comprehensive guide — perhaps the first of its kind— is for anyone with an interest in the public perception of risk, including policy maker, business, and academics in various fields including economics, public health and the environment.
Journal of Psychology and Financial Markets
Slovic writes with rare grace and verve, along with frequent flashes of humour..his prose is as perfect as a proverb.
European Association for Decision Marketing
For new researchers to the area this is an excellent book for tracing the development of work in risk perception over the last 25 years and as a way of finding out about some of the contemporary approaches. It will also provide a good way of understanding how current approaches have evolved. As a catalogue of one man's work it is impressive.
Bulletin of the European Association for Decision Marketing
For new researchers to the area this is an excellent book for tracing the development of work in risk perception over the last 25 years and as a way of finding out about some of the contemporary approaches. It will also provide a good way of understanding how current approaches have evolved. For more experienced researchers in this area all the papers, apart from the overview of around 17 pages will be familiar. I found it interesting to reread some of the early papers and reflect upon them in the light of recent developments. As a catalogue of one man's work it is impressive.
Journal of Environmental Planning and Management
It is impossible to do justice to the breadth and importance of this book in a short review...For anyone in planning or environmental management wishing to gain an understanding of what drives the public's perception of different risks, and how, as managers, they can manage risk more effectively, the papers in this book form essential reading. The papers are also highly relevant for anyone contemplating undertaking any environmental valuation of a good subject to risk or uncertainty.
Reprints 26 articles by Slovic (psychology, U. of Oregon), often in collaboration with others, from original publication between 1974 and 2000. They discuss societal risk taking, decision-making in mental health law, rating risks, informing and educating the public, intuitive toxicology, nuclear waste, trust and democracy, technological stigma, and other topics. Distributed in the US by Stylus. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781853835285
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Series: Earthscan Risk in Society Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 881,988
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Slovic is President of Decision Research and Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon.
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Table of Contents

Decision Processes, Rationality and Adjustment to Natural Hazards
• Cognitive Processes and Societal Risk Taking
• Preference for Insuring Against Probable Small Losses: Insurance Implications
• Accident Probabilities and Seat Belt Usage: A Psychological Perspective
• How Safe Is Safe Enough? A Psychometric Study of Attitudes Toward Technological Risks and Benefits
• Rating the Risks
• Weighing the Risks: Which Risks are Acceptable?
• Facts and Fears: Understanding Perceived Risk
• Response Mode, Framing and Information-processing Effects in Risk Assessment
• The Nature of Technological Hazard
• Informing and Educating the Public about Risk
• Perception of Risk from Automobile Safety Defects
• Perception of Risk
• The Social Amplification of Risk: A Conceptual Framework
• The Perception and Management of Therapeutic Risk
• Perception of Risk from Radiation
• Perceived Risk, Trust and the Politics of Nuclear Waste
• Intuitive Toxicology: Expert and Lay Judgments of Chemical Risks
• Perceived Risk, Trust and Democracy
• Adolescent Health-threatening and Health-enhancing Behaviors: A Study of Word Association and Imagery
• Technological Stigma
• Probability, Danger and Coercion: A Study of Risk Perception and Decision-making in Mental Health Law
• Do Adolescent Smokers Know the Risks?
• Insensitivity to the Value of a Human Life: A Study of Psychophysical Numbing
• Trust, Emotion, Sex, Politics and Science: Surveying the Risk-assessment Battlefield
• The Affect Heuristic in Judgments of Risks and Benefits*
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