Perception of Risks from Electromagnetic Fields: A Psychometric Evaluation of a Risk-Communication Approach

Risk Analysis, Vol. 14, No. 5, 1994

14 Pages Posted: 1 May 2011

See all articles by Donald G. MacGregor

Donald G. MacGregor

MacGregor-Bates, Inc.

Paul Slovic

Decision Research; University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

M. Granger Morgan

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Engineering and Public Policy

Date Written: March 1, 1994

Abstract

Potential health risks from exposure to power-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) have become an issue of significant public concern. This study evaluates a brochure designed to communicate EMF health risks from a scientific perspective. The study utilized a pretest-post test design in which respondents judged various sources of EMF (and other) health and safety risks, both before reading the brochure and after. Respondents assessed risks on dimensions similar to those utilized in previous studies of risk perception. In addition, detailed ratings were made that probed respondents' beliefs about the possible causal effects of EMF exposure. The findings suggest that naive beliefs about the potential of EMF exposure to cause harm were highly influenced by specific content elements of the brochure. The implications for using risk-communication approaches based on communicating scientific uncertainty are discussed.

Keywords: Risk communication, risk perception, electromagnetic fields

Suggested Citation

MacGregor, Donald G. and Slovic, Paul and Morgan, M. Granger, Perception of Risks from Electromagnetic Fields: A Psychometric Evaluation of a Risk-Communication Approach (March 1, 1994). Risk Analysis, Vol. 14, No. 5, 1994. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1826056

Donald G. MacGregor (Contact Author)

MacGregor-Bates, Inc. ( email )

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

Paul Slovic

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)

M. Granger Morgan

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Engineering and Public Policy ( email )

Baker Hall 129
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States

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