Economic & Cultural Factors Affecting Hazard Perception
- AS, A Level
- AQA, Edexcel, OCR, Eduqas, WJEC
Last updated 22 Mar 2021
People react to hazards in different ways, because of the difference in the way in which we receive, process and filter the information we receive.
When we are warned of a potential risk people go through several stages, which shape their perceptions and behaviour, i.e. hear, confirm, understand, believe, personalise, respond. Each stage is affected by age, gender, and level of education, the nature of the information and how many times they receive the warning.
The perception of hazards falls into three groups. These can overlap at times.
Acceptance: (includes fatalistic tendencies)
This perception relates to people seeing hazards as being natural events which are a part of life, or result from ‘acts of God’, which can’t be controlled by humans. Events are random, and we can only respond to them. Loss of life and belongings are to be expected.
The perception here is that hazards are extreme events. They are predictable, and their magnitude can be predicted. People can understand them better by carrying out scientific research. Tis also possible through engineering or use of technology.
The perception here is a mixture of domination and acceptance. The belief is that natural hazards will happen, and they are influenced by both natural and human factors. Their magnitude and frequency may be estimated based on previous experiences of the hazard. There is a need to adjust systems, respond flexibly to the hazard and research new technology to help mitigate the hazard.
Hazard perception in a developed country is more likely to be around “domination” due to the available money, technology and skilled personnel.
In less developed countries, acceptance or adaptation are more likely.
The culture within a country is also crucial in determining the perception; with traditional religious countries having a perception of “acceptance” in comparison to a westernised secular society.
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