Understanding Public Responses to Domestic Threats

Les Réactions du Public aux Menaces Nationales


  1. Bruine de Bruin, W.
  2. Florig, H.K.
  3. Fischhoff, B.
  4. Downs, J.S.
  5. Stone, E.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN);Carnegie-Mellon Univ, Pittsburgh PA (US)
The overall goal of this report is to improve understanding of public responses to domestic threats. Project 1 focuses on pandemic influenza and dirty bomb threats, aiming to understand the role of emotions in anticipated behavioural responses. Project 2 examines a situation in which people are evacuated from a community to avoid exposure to radioactive fallout from an upwind nuclear explosion. The project aims to understand the factors that affect people’s decisions about how long to wait until returning to their homes, given the gradual decline in radiation levels resulting from radioactive decay. First, we present an overview of each problem, by presenting models summarizing scientific knowledge. The resulting models use the logic of influence diagrams (Clemens, 1997; Fischhoff, 2000) with nodes reflecting relevant variables affecting the risk, and mitigating it, and links showing how they are connected. The models differ from traditional risk models, because they include emotional and behavioural components that affect how a risk event unfolds. Project 1 models concern the interplay between emotional and behavioural responses to domestic threats, focusing on fear and anger. The model for project 2 concerns the health, social, and economic factors that may affect people’s decisions to return to a community with residual radiation levels that elevate cancer risk. Second, we report on surveys with Canadian and U.S. participants, based on these models. For project 1, we p

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Risk communication;public safety;compliance;avian flu pandemic;radiological/nuclear attack;emotions;influence models;public decision making
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-CR-2007-111 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
01 Sep 2007
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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