Perception of Risk Posed by Extreme Events

In: Regulation of Toxic Substances and Hazardous Waste (2nd edition) (Applegate, Gabba, Laitos, and Sachs, Editors), Foundation Press, Forthcoming

21 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2013

See all articles by Paul Slovic

Paul Slovic

Decision Research; University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

Elke U. Weber

Columbia Business School - Management & Psychology

Abstract

Extreme events, by definition, cause much harm to people, property, and the natural world. Sometimes they result from the vagaries of nature, as in the case of flood, earthquake, or storm, and thus are truly the outcomes of "games against nature." In other cases they follow technological failure or unintentional human error, as in the case of Chernobyl or Bhopal, putting them also into the category of risks that are predictable only probabilistically. More recently we have witnessed another form of extreme hazard, resulting from terrorism. One of us has termed this "a new species of trouble" (Slovic, in press), since it involves an intelligent and motivated opponent, putting the situations that give rise to these types of extreme events into the domain of economic game theory. The purpose of this brief review is to examine what existing research can tell us about the perception of risk associated with these extreme events. We will also point out issues that remain in need of exploration.

Suggested Citation

Slovic, Paul and Weber, Elke U., Perception of Risk Posed by Extreme Events. In: Regulation of Toxic Substances and Hazardous Waste (2nd edition) (Applegate, Gabba, Laitos, and Sachs, Editors), Foundation Press, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2293086

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)

Elke U. Weber (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Management & Psychology ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
3,804
rank
2,196
Abstract Views
10,922
PlumX