Modeling of Public Risk Perception and Risk Communication Research: In A Social-Cognitive Direction
Li, Yiwei, Guo, Yu, Ito, Naoya
Asian Journal for Public Opinion Research.
This study begins with a review of commonly discussed dimensions of public risk perception that may influence public opinion toward risks. Factors that have been revealed by the literature to have substantial impact on risk perception, such as demographic background, trust, and media environment, are also discussed. Meanwhile, we evaluate two well-known research models in the realm of risk analysis: 1) the psychometric paradigm, and 2) the social amplification of risk framework (SARF). Based on a literature review, this study suggests that, besides the psychological and social approach, models of risk perception and risk communication research should shift to a more comprehensive one by considering the interrelations between laypeople and the environment. This study proposes a research model from the perspective of social cognitive theory (SCT) as a potential framework for future studies: 1) in the societal environment, individuals' risk perception and information seeking behavior, which is determined by risk perception will be influenced by trust in regulators and interpersonal trust; 2) in the media environment, individuals' risk perception and information seeking behavior will be influenced by individuals' perceived information characteristics. Knowledge about risk accumulated through information seeking will change risk perception in a longitudinal process.
Risk perception; risk communication; social-cognitive approach