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The theoretical features of some current approaches to risk perception

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Three approaches to risk perception (RP), the psychometric, the Basic Risk Perception Model, and the social amplification of risk, are evaluated using four common criteria for scientific theories. All approaches are found to meet the criterion of describing a large set of data, and for the psychometric approach and the Basic Risk Perception Model, the criterion of parsimony is fulfilled. The criteria of falsifiability and generating testable hypotheses are not met by any of these approaches. It is concluded that there is not as much theory available in RP research as could be expected at face value, if theory is defined as statements about causal mechanisms generating testable hypotheses. These three approaches instead qualifies as models (here defined as mathematical descriptions of data).
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Keywords: PSYCHOMETRIC; RISK AMPLIFICATION; RISK PERCEPTION; THEORY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-07-01

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