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The Feeling of Risk: New Perspectives on Risk Perception





Earthscan, London 




Paul Slovic




The Feeling of Risk: New Perspectives on Risk Perception


Year of Publication














Krishna B. Misra




Review published in IJPE Vol. 7, No. 3, May 2011, p. 278.


The book consists of the following IV parts and each part comprises several chapters. The total number of chapters is 22, which follow the Acronyms and Abbreviations, Acknowledgements and Author’s Introduction and Overview.


Introduction and Overview

09 Pages 


Part I


Risk as Feelings



This part consists of 8 chapters, which are written by the author singly or in association with other authors. The author traces his journey of developing interest in risk and understanding and perception of risk that he developed over years starting with 1959.  Various factors psychological affecting perception and decision making are analyzed. It is explained that analytic evaluation of risk seems to be different than emotional reactions that are often ignored in understanding of effects.


      119 Pages

Part II


Culture, Cognition and Risk


This part, of 5 chapters, highlights the interplay of cultural factors and cognition. The risk perception varies between the people with different cultural background. For example, it is stated that 30 per cent of white male population in the U.S. had low perception of risk across a wide array of hazards. It is further explained why white men fear risks less than women and minorities. It is proposed that a model can be developed whereby individuals behave neither as rational or irrational judges but rather as cultural evaluators of risk.


107 Pages

Part III


Psychometric Studies



This part comprising  5 chapters deals with psychometric studies which highlights that risk may defined subjectively by individuals who may be influenced by psychological, social, institutional and cultural factors. For example, in one of the chapters, American attitude towards blood transfusion is examined. A large section of Americans believe that the US blood supply is unsafe.. Similarly, public perceives risk from new biotechnological products to be high than the experts. Anthrax is more scary than a terrorists’ act.


80 Pages

Part IV


Risk Knowledge and Risk Communication


This part consists of 4 chapters and examines the role of risk perception within the context of knowledge and communication. For example, social amplification of risk perception appears to have played a role in evaluation of the events like Chernobyl, Bhopal or even “mad cow” disease. The experience of risk is not only the experience of physical harm but the result of processes by which people learn to acquire or create interpretations of risk. Substantial amplification may sometimes result in unexpected public alarms. On the other hand extreme attenuation of  serious risk events may pass unnoticed or unattended.


60 Pages


39 Pages


09 Pages


The author of this book is an acclaimed authority on risk. He had earlier authored a 435-pages book entitled Perception of Risk, published again by Earthscan in 2000. The present book is an extension of risk perception from where it was left in the earlier book. The author is a professor 9781849711487 - The Feeling of Risk: New Perspectives on Risk Perceptionof psychology and the founder and President of Decision Research - a non profit organization researching in human judgement, decision making and risk.  It is really a very exhaustive treatment of the subject of risk and the most elaborate book on the subject of risk. Hardly any aspect of risk perception is left out from consideration of this voluminous treatise. The author seems to have spent his professional life in understanding the phenomenon of risk perception and human decision making and risk communication based on it. The reviewer feels that this book would help widen the perception of risk in much wider context in our day to day life. Be it cultural risk, gender risk, environmental risks from man-made catastrophe or from natural disasters, or from smoking, or from the use of any transportation means of travelling, or of food that we eat etc.etc The list is very wide. The book would be very useful for anyone who is concerned with any aspect or type of risk study and would like to have the overall and complete information on the factors governing risk and of decision making in general, must read this book.

     - Krishna B. Misra


Review published in the International Journal of Performability Engineering, Vol. 7, No. 3, May 2011, p. 278.


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