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Bringing appraisal theory to environmental risk perception: a review of conceptual approaches of the past 40 years and suggestions for future research

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An intensive program of 40 years of research has produced various conceptual cognitive and affective approaches to environmental risk perception. In this short review of the most relevant conceptual approaches, appraisal theory is presented as a useful means of integrating cognitive and affective approaches to risk perception. Appraisal theory offers an opportunity to advance our understanding of how environmental risk perception operates in an emotion-specific manner and enables identification of new research directions. Although within other conceptual approaches there are still open research questions, the potential for examining environmental risk perception within appraisal theory has not yet been fully explored. Reviewing current appraisal theoretical models, seven research questions are suggested to structure future research on environmental risk perception.
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Keywords: affect; appraisal theory; cognition; emotion; review; risk perception

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Consumer Behavior,ETH Zurich, Institute for Environmental Decisions (IED), Zurich, Switzerland 2: Evans School of Public Affairs,University of Washington, Seattle,WA, USA 3: Psychology and Communication of Health and Risk,University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands 4: Department of Cognitive Sciences and Education,University of Trento, Trento, Italy 5: University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK 6: School of Psychology,Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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