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Affect Heuristic

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Paul Slovic – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • The Affect Heuristic and Risk Perception – Stability Across Elicitation Methods and Individual Cognitive Abilities.
    Frontiers in psychology, 2020
    Co-Authors: Kenny Skagerlund, Paul Slovic, Mattias Forsblad, Daniel Västfjäll
    Abstract:

    The reliance on feelings when judging risks and benefits is one of the most fundamental valuation processes in risk perception. Although previous research suggests that the Affect Heuristic reliably predicts an inverse correlation between risk and benefit judgments, it has not yet been tested if the Affect Heuristic is sensitive to elicitation method effects (joint/separate evaluation) and to what extent individual differences in cognitive abilities may mediate the risk-benefit correlation. Across two studies we find that (1) the risk-benefit correlation is stable across different elicitation methods and for different domains (e.g., social domain, sensation-seeking domain, health domain, economic domain) and (2) the strength of the inverse correlation is tied to individual cognitive abilities-primarily cognitive reflection ability.

  • The Affect Heuristic and Risk Perception– Stability across elicitation methods and individual cognitive abilities
    , 2019
    Co-Authors: Kenny Skagerlund, Paul Slovic, Mattias Forsblad, Daniel Västfjäll
    Abstract:

    The reliance on feelings when judging risks and benefits is one the most fundamental valuation processes in risk perception. While previous research suggest that the Affect Heuristic reliably predict an inverse correlation between risk and benefit judgments, it has not yet been tested if the Affect Heuristic is sensitive to elicitation method effects (joint/separate evaluation) and to what extend individual differences in cognitive abilities may mediate the risk-benefit correlation. Across two studies we find that 1) the risk-benefit correlation is stable across different elicitation methods and for different domains (e.g., social domain, thrill-seeking domain, health domain, economic domain etc.), and 2) the strength of the inverse correlation is tied to individual cognitive abilities – primarily cognitive reflection ability.

  • The Affect Heuristic, mortality salience, and risk: domain-specific effects of a natural disaster on risk-benefit perception.
    Scandinavian journal of psychology, 2014
    Co-Authors: Daniel Västfjäll, Ellen Peters, Paul Slovic
    Abstract:

    We examine how Affect and accessible thoughts following a major natural disaster influence everyday risk perception. A survey was conducted in the months following the 2004 south Asian Tsunami in a representative sample of the Swedish population (N = 733). Respondents rated their experienced Affect as well as the perceived risk and benefits of various everyday decision domains. Affect influenced risk and benefit perception in a way that could be predicted from both the Affect-congruency and Affect Heuristic literatures (increased risk perception and stronger risk-benefit correlations). However, in some decision domains, self-regulation goals primed by the natural disaster predicted risk and benefit ratings. Together, these results show that Affect, accessible thoughts and motivational states influence perceptions of risks and benefits.

Michael Siegrist – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • We choose what we like – Affect as a driver of electricity portfolio choice
    Energy Policy, 2018
    Co-Authors: Marilou Jobin, Michael Siegrist
    Abstract:

    Abstract Numerous countries are restructuring their electricity systems. Transitioning to electricity systems that are considered acceptable by the public requires that the public’s preferences be taken into account. In this study, we investigate the type of energy technology portfolio that people prefer for Switzerland, and why they prefer it, when they are faced with two realistic constraints: (i) the limited domestic potential for the expansion of power plants and (ii) the requirement to not dismantle existing infrastructure. We find that the Affect evoked by particular energy technologies is consistently the most important driver of the proportion of those technologies included in an energy portfolio. The regression models for the investigated technologies explain between 14% and 54% of the variance, providing strong support for the Affect Heuristic. We further find that concerns regarding environmental impacts, costs or climate change play an additional role for portfolio preferences. This is reflected in four different clusters we identified for the German-speaking Swiss population who potentially hold opposing views as to what they consider the best electricity mix. For policymakers, our findings suggest that positive Affective reactions towards energy technologies are necessary, although concerns must also be considered if the implementation is to be widely accepted.

  • people s reliance on the Affect Heuristic may result in a biased perception of gene technology
    Food Quality and Preference, 2016
    Co-Authors: Michael Siegrist, Bernadette Sütterlin
    Abstract:

    Abstract In an experiment, we demonstrated that the same outcome of a new corn variety was evaluated less positively if it was from gene technology (GT) compared with conventional breeding technology (CT). The participants (N = 205) were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions—GT or CT. In the first step, the participants’ Affect associated with GT or CT plants was measured. Then, the participants read a hypothetical scenario about a new genetically modified (GT condition) or conventionally produced (CT condition) corn variety that was more resistant to the corn borer. They were presented with a matrix in which 1976 black (50%) and white (50%) cells were randomly scattered. The participants were informed that each cell represented a test plot and that the corn plants in the white test plots were not damaged by the corn borer. The participants were then asked to estimate the percentage of the plots infested by the corn borer and how effective they perceived the new corn variety was in resisting the pest. The results indicated that the participants assigned to the GT condition perceived the new corn variety as significantly less effective compared with the participants assigned to the CT condition. No significant difference was observed for estimated percentages. The results suggest that the difference in perceived effectiveness between genetically modified and conventionally bred corn can be explained by people’s reliance on the Affect Heuristic.

  • Human and nature-caused hazards: the Affect Heuristic causes biased decisions.
    Risk analysis : an official publication of the Society for Risk Analysis, 2014
    Co-Authors: Michael Siegrist, Bernadette Sütterlin
    Abstract:

    People are more concerned about the negative consequences of human hazards compared with natural hazards. Results of four experiments show that the same negative outcome (e.g., number of birds killed by an oil spill) was more negatively evaluated when caused by humans than when caused by nature. Results further show that when identical risk information was provided, participants evaluated nuclear power more negatively compared with solar power. The Affect associated with the hazard per se influenced the interpretation of the new information. Furthermore, the Affect experienced in the situation fully mediated the evaluation of the negative outcomes of a hazard. People’s reliance on the Affect Heuristic is a challenge for acceptance of cost-benefit analyses because equally negative outcomes are differently evaluated depending on the cause. Symbolically significant information and the Affect evoked by this information may result in biased and riskier decisions.

Ellen Peters – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • Emotional Aspects of Risk Perceptions
    Psychological Perspectives on Risk and Risk Analysis, 2018
    Co-Authors: Mary Kate Tompkins, Pär Bjälkebring, Ellen Peters
    Abstract:

    Understanding the public’s perceptions of risk is of great importance to governments, businesses, and scientists worldwide because the public influences what policies are enacted. As a result, how people perceive (and misperceive) the risks of various hazards and activities has been of interest to academic and other researchers for many years. Researchers in the field of judgment and decision making have examined and understood risk perceptions in two primary ways: risk as feelings and risk as analysis. Risk as analysis assumes people judge risk by assessing the desirability and likelihood of possible outcomes and integrating this information in a logical fashion. In contrast, risk as feelings suggests that people make risk judgments based at least in part on their feelings about possible hazards and activities. Risk as feelings calls attention to the vital role that Affect and emotions play in the process of judging risk. Affect and emotions are beneficial in that they allow us to navigate efficiently through our risky and uncertain world. The primary aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of research that highlights the role of Affect and emotions in risk perceptions. We focus on two related lines of work that have been fundamental to our understanding of risk as feelings: the Affect Heuristic and the appraisal-tendency framework.

  • Overcoming Innumeracy and the Use of Heuristics When Communicating Science
    Oxford Handbooks Online, 2017
    Co-Authors: Ellen Peters
    Abstract:

    Science communication is difficult because, rather than understanding and using important, often numeric, information, lay people and experts alike resort to superficial Heuristic processing of information. This chapter examines Heuristic processing with respect to the power of experience, the Affect Heuristic, and framing effects along with their interactions with innumeracy. Recommendations are made for how to improve science communication to decrease use of Heuristic processing and improve use of numeric information in risk perceptions and decision making. Based on existing evidence, science communicators should carefully identify communication goals and then choose evidence-based strategies to meet them. Evidence-based strategies include providing numeric information (as opposed to not providing it), reducing cognitive effort, increasing Affective meaning, and drawing attention to key information.

  • The Affect Heuristic, mortality salience, and risk: domain-specific effects of a natural disaster on risk-benefit perception.
    Scandinavian journal of psychology, 2014
    Co-Authors: Daniel Västfjäll, Ellen Peters, Paul Slovic
    Abstract:

    We examine how Affect and accessible thoughts following a major natural disaster influence everyday risk perception. A survey was conducted in the months following the 2004 south Asian Tsunami in a representative sample of the Swedish population (N = 733). Respondents rated their experienced Affect as well as the perceived risk and benefits of various everyday decision domains. Affect influenced risk and benefit perception in a way that could be predicted from both the Affect-congruency and Affect Heuristic literatures (increased risk perception and stronger risk-benefit correlations). However, in some decision domains, self-regulation goals primed by the natural disaster predicted risk and benefit ratings. Together, these results show that Affect, accessible thoughts and motivational states influence perceptions of risks and benefits.

Daniel Västfjäll – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • The Affect Heuristic and Risk Perception – Stability Across Elicitation Methods and Individual Cognitive Abilities.
    Frontiers in psychology, 2020
    Co-Authors: Kenny Skagerlund, Paul Slovic, Mattias Forsblad, Daniel Västfjäll
    Abstract:

    The reliance on feelings when judging risks and benefits is one of the most fundamental valuation processes in risk perception. Although previous research suggests that the Affect Heuristic reliably predicts an inverse correlation between risk and benefit judgments, it has not yet been tested if the Affect Heuristic is sensitive to elicitation method effects (joint/separate evaluation) and to what extent individual differences in cognitive abilities may mediate the risk-benefit correlation. Across two studies we find that (1) the risk-benefit correlation is stable across different elicitation methods and for different domains (e.g., social domain, sensation-seeking domain, health domain, economic domain) and (2) the strength of the inverse correlation is tied to individual cognitive abilities-primarily cognitive reflection ability.

  • The Affect Heuristic and Risk Perception– Stability across elicitation methods and individual cognitive abilities
    , 2019
    Co-Authors: Kenny Skagerlund, Paul Slovic, Mattias Forsblad, Daniel Västfjäll
    Abstract:

    The reliance on feelings when judging risks and benefits is one the most fundamental valuation processes in risk perception. While previous research suggest that the Affect Heuristic reliably predict an inverse correlation between risk and benefit judgments, it has not yet been tested if the Affect Heuristic is sensitive to elicitation method effects (joint/separate evaluation) and to what extend individual differences in cognitive abilities may mediate the risk-benefit correlation. Across two studies we find that 1) the risk-benefit correlation is stable across different elicitation methods and for different domains (e.g., social domain, thrill-seeking domain, health domain, economic domain etc.), and 2) the strength of the inverse correlation is tied to individual cognitive abilities – primarily cognitive reflection ability.

  • The Affect Heuristic, mortality salience, and risk: domain-specific effects of a natural disaster on risk-benefit perception.
    Scandinavian journal of psychology, 2014
    Co-Authors: Daniel Västfjäll, Ellen Peters, Paul Slovic
    Abstract:

    We examine how Affect and accessible thoughts following a major natural disaster influence everyday risk perception. A survey was conducted in the months following the 2004 south Asian Tsunami in a representative sample of the Swedish population (N = 733). Respondents rated their experienced Affect as well as the perceived risk and benefits of various everyday decision domains. Affect influenced risk and benefit perception in a way that could be predicted from both the Affect-congruency and Affect Heuristic literatures (increased risk perception and stronger risk-benefit correlations). However, in some decision domains, self-regulation goals primed by the natural disaster predicted risk and benefit ratings. Together, these results show that Affect, accessible thoughts and motivational states influence perceptions of risks and benefits.

Melissa L Finucane – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • The Affect Heuristic
    European Journal of Operational Research, 2007
    Co-Authors: Paul Slovic, Melissa L Finucane, Ellen Peters, Donald G Macgregor
    Abstract:

    Abstract This paper introduces a theoretical framework that describes the importance of Affect in guiding judgments and decisions. As used here, “Affect” means the specific quality of “goodness” or “badness” (i) experienced as a feeling state (with or without consciousness) and (ii) demarcating a positive or negative quality of a stimulus. Affective responses occur rapidly and automatically—note how quickly you sense the feelings associated with the stimulus word “treasure” or the word “hate”. We argue that reliance on such feelings can be characterized as “the Affect Heuristic”. In this paper we trace the development of the Affect Heuristic across a variety of research paths followed by ourselves and many others. We also discuss some of the important practical implications resulting from ways that this Heuristic impacts our daily lives.

  • Affect, Risk, and Decision Making
    , 2005
    Co-Authors: Paul Slovic, Melissa L Finucane, Ellen Peters, Donald G Macgregor
    Abstract:

    Risk is perceived and acted on in 2 fundamental ways. Risk as feelings refers to individuals’ fast, instinctive, and intuitive reactions to danger. Risk as analysis brings logic, reason, and scientific deliberation to bear on risk management. Reliance on risk as feelings is described with “the Affect Heuristic.” The authors trace the development of this Heuristic across a variety of research paths. The authors also discuss some of the important practical implications resulting from ways that this Heuristic impacts how people perceive and evaluate risk, and, more generally, how it influences all human decision making. Finally, some important implications of the Affect Heuristic for communication and decision making pertaining to cancer prevention and treatment are briefly discussed.

  • rational actors or rational fools implications of the Affect Heuristic for behavioral economics
    Journal of Socio-economics, 2002
    Co-Authors: Paul Slovic, Melissa L Finucane, Ellen Peters, Donald G Macgregor
    Abstract:

    Abstract This paper describes two fundamental modes of thinking. The experiential mode, is intuitive, automatic, natural, and based upon images to which positive and negative Affective feelings have been attached through learning and experience. The other mode is analytic, deliberative, and reason based. I describe recent empirical research illuminating “the Affect Heuristic” wherein people rapidly consult their Affective feelings, when making judgments and decisions. This Heuristic enables us to be rational actors in many situations. It works beautifully when experience enables us to anticipate accurately how we will like or dislike the consequences of our decisions. However, it fails miserably when the consequences turn out to be much different than we anticipated. In the latter circumstances, the rational actor may well become the rational fool.