Risk Communication and Decision Making

Tue. 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Interlocken C

Understanding how risk is communicated and how people interpret and respond to risks is a key issue that has emerged from recent disasters. Decision making in uncertain conditions is inadequately described by traditional models of rational choice. Instead, attention needs to be given to how interpretations of risks are shaped by experience, personal feelings and values, cultural beliefs, and interpersonal and societal dynamics. Recent research has shown that lack of access to and framing of risk information have contributed to misunderstandings between groups. For example, acceptable risk in the context of risk reduction and earthquake building safety involves interactions between physical scientists, engineers, land-use planners, community members, and policy makers. To determine acceptable levels of risk, engineering performance, risk language, and public perception must be integrated. Inevitably, after a disaster, risk management policies are called into question and reviewed. This panel will explore risk communication and decisions under conditions of uncertainty and of the roles science and policy agencies play in this process.

Panelist Sarah Beaven, Moderator
University of Canterbury


Panelist Ann Bostrom, Panelist
University of Washington


PanelistSuzanne Frew, Panelist
The Frew Group


PanelistDavid Johnston, Panelist
Massey University


Panelist Lucy Jones, Panelist
U.S. Geological Survey


Panelist Wendy Saunders, Panelist
GNS Science


Organizer: David Johnston, Massey University