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Affect-inducing risk communication: current knowledge and future directions


Visschers, V H M; Wiedemann, P M; Gutscher, Heinz; Kurzenhäuser, S; Seidl, R; Jardine, C G; Timmermans, D R M (2012). Affect-inducing risk communication: current knowledge and future directions. Journal of Risk Research, 15(3):257-271.

Abstract

Affect appears to have a central role in people’s risk perception and decision-making. It is, therefore, important that researchers and communicators know how risk communication can induce affect or more specific emotions. In this paper, several studies that examined affect-inducing cues presented in and around risk communication are discussed. We thereby distinguish between integral affect induction, meaning through the risk message, and incidental affect induction, which occurs unintentional through the risk communication context. The following cues are discussed: emotion induction, fear appeals, outrage factors, risk stories, probability information, uncertainty information and graphs and images. Relatively few studies assessed the effect of their risk communication material on affect or specific emotions. Incidental affect induction appeared to occur more often than expected based on its factual content. Risk communication easily seems to induce affect incidentally and, thus, may be difficult to control. We, therefore, argue that incidental affect induction is more influential than integral affect induction. Implications for further research and risk communication in practice are given. Based on this overview, we strongly suggest considering and empirically assessing the affect-inducing potential of risk communication formats and content during their development and evaluation.

Abstract

Affect appears to have a central role in people’s risk perception and decision-making. It is, therefore, important that researchers and communicators know how risk communication can induce affect or more specific emotions. In this paper, several studies that examined affect-inducing cues presented in and around risk communication are discussed. We thereby distinguish between integral affect induction, meaning through the risk message, and incidental affect induction, which occurs unintentional through the risk communication context. The following cues are discussed: emotion induction, fear appeals, outrage factors, risk stories, probability information, uncertainty information and graphs and images. Relatively few studies assessed the effect of their risk communication material on affect or specific emotions. Incidental affect induction appeared to occur more often than expected based on its factual content. Risk communication easily seems to induce affect incidentally and, thus, may be difficult to control. We, therefore, argue that incidental affect induction is more influential than integral affect induction. Implications for further research and risk communication in practice are given. Based on this overview, we strongly suggest considering and empirically assessing the affect-inducing potential of risk communication formats and content during their development and evaluation.

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16 citations in Web of Science®
17 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:06 Jun 2012 08:47
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 14:20
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1366-9877
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/13669877.2011.634521

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