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Affect, Risk, and Decision Making

Health Psychology, Vol. 24, pp. S35-S40, 2005

6 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2010 Last revised: 8 Mar 2012

Paul Slovic

Decision Research; University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

Ellen Peters

Ohio State University - Psychology Department; Decision Research; University of Oregon

Melissa Finucane

East-West Center; Kaiser Permanente - Center for Health Research

Donald G. MacGregor

MacGregor-Bates, Inc.

Date Written: 2005

Abstract

Risk is perceived and acted on in 2 fundamental ways. Risk as feelings refers to individuals' fast, instinctive, and intuitive reactions to danger. Risk as analysis brings logic, reason, and scientific deliberation to bear on risk management. Reliance on risk as feelings is described with "the affect heuristic." The authors trace the development of this heuristic across a variety of research paths. The authors also discuss some of the important practical implications resulting from ways that this heuristic impacts how people perceive and evaluate risk, and, more generally, how it influences all human decision making. Finally, some important implications of the affect heuristic for communication and decision making pertaining to cancer prevention and treatment are briefly discussed.

Keywords: risk perception, risk analysis, affect heuristic, heuristics, rationality

Suggested Citation

Slovic, Paul and Peters, Ellen and Finucane, Melissa and MacGregor, Donald G., Affect, Risk, and Decision Making (2005). Health Psychology, Vol. 24, pp. S35-S40, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1569614

Paul Slovic (Contact Author)

Decision Research ( email )

1201 Oak Street, Suite 200
Eugene, OR 97401
United States
541-485-2400 (Phone)
541-485-2403 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.decisionresearch.org

University of Oregon - Department of Psychology ( email )

Eugene, OR 97403
United States
541-485-2400 (Phone)

Ellen Peters

Ohio State University - Psychology Department ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

Decision Research ( email )

1201 Oak Street, Suite 200
Eugene, OR 97401
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.decisionresearch.org

University of Oregon ( email )

1280 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
United States

Melissa Finucane

East-West Center ( email )

1601 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI 96848
United States
808-944-7254 (Phone)
808-944-7298 (Fax)

Kaiser Permanente - Center for Health Research ( email )

501 Alakawa Street
Honolulu, HI 96817
United States
808-432-4754 (Phone)

Donald G. MacGregor

MacGregor-Bates, Inc. ( email )

1010 Villard Ave.
Cottage Grove, OR 97424
United States
(541) 942-5727 (Phone)

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