Electronic Journal of Biotechnology ISSN: 0717-3458
  © 2003 by Universidad Católica de Valparaíso -- Chile
Vol. 6 No. 1, Issue of April 15, 2003

Table 7. Factors influencing the perception of risk.


Illustrations and clarifications

- knowledge of the risk and familiarity with it.

- An invisible or uncontrollable risk produces heightened anxiety (radioactivity, GMOs).

- scientific uncertainty, controversy

- Those who minimize the risks are suspected of having vested interests in the field (i.e. involved industrialists) or of trying to avoid an economic or political crisis.

- possibility of those exposed to risk to exert control over it

- The feeling of mastery is essential.

- voluntary or involuntary character of the exposition

- One is more angry about being exposed to an inescapable risk than to a risk from which one can escape (or choose for oneself).

- advantages - or disadvantages - for the person exposed

- A risk which benefits the person who creates it, but not the person who is actually subjected to it, often produces indignation.

- delay in the appearance of undesirable consequences

- A risk for which the effects seem to be very distant will be underestimated or even ignored (cf. smoking, excessive tanning).

- proximity

- A nearby risk is felt more strongly than distant catastrophes.

Supported by UNESCO / MIRCEN network