Society For Risk Analysis Annual Meeting 2017

Session Schedule & Abstracts

* Disclaimer: All presentations represent the views of the authors, and not the organizations that support their research. Please apply the standard disclaimer that any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations in abstracts, posters, and presentations at the meeting are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other organization or agency. Meeting attendees and authors should be aware that this disclaimer is intended to apply to all abstracts contained in this document. Authors who wish to emphasize this disclaimer should do so in their presentation or poster. In an effort to make the abstracts as concise as possible and easy for meeting participants to read, the abstracts have been formatted such that they exclude references to papers, affiliations, and/or funding sources. Authors who wish to provide attendees with this information should do so in their presentation or poster.

Common abbreviations

Human Factors in Decision Making

Room: Salon C   3:30 pm–5:10 pm

Chair(s): Sara Goto

Sponsored by Decision Analysis and Risk Specialty Group

W4-C.1  3:30 pm  Examining the Effects of Objective Risks and Community Resilience on Risk Perceptions at the County Level in the U.S. Gulf Coast: An Innovative Approach. Shao W, Gardezi M*, Xian S; Auburn University at Montgomery

Abstract: The coupling effects of changing climate and rising concentration of population in the coastal region pose serious challenges to coastal communities. Communities’ risk perceptions can influence their abilities to cope with coastal hazards. Our study presents a pioneering effort to examine environmental risk perceptions at the county level. In this study, we first apply a spatial statistical model to construct county-level risk perception indicators based on survey responses. Next, we employ Bayesian inference to reveal the relationship between contextual risks and community resilience, on the one hand, and county-level perceptions of coastal risks, on the other. Results of this study are directly applicable in the policy-making domain as many hazard mitigation plans and policies are designed and implemented at the county level. Specifically, two major findings stand out. First, two indicators of the contextual risks positively affect county-level risk perceptions. Second, higher levels of economic resilience and community capital are found to lead to heightened risk perceptions, which suggests that concerted efforts are needed to raise awareness of coastal risks among counties with less economic and community capitals. We end this study by proposing a theoretical framework laying out hypothetical links among contextual risks, community resilience, and risk perceptions.

W4-C.2  3:50 pm  The Influence of Generational Differences on Loss Aversion and Risk Taking. Goto SK*, Arvai JL; University of Michigan

Abstract: Prospect theory describes decision-making behavior where individuals place higher relative value on losses than they do on equivalent gains. However, because prospect theory relies upon reference points for judging the value of losses, it stands to reason that intergenerational variability will influence the magnitude of loss aversion felt by decision makers. For example, over the course of a lifetime, individuals will experience multiple losses. Older adults have had more opportunities to experience loss and may make decisions and take risks that are distinct from those made by younger adults who have experienced fewer losses. As such, people could be expected to fall into patterns of loss aversion based on generational cohort as this classification sorts individuals by age, experience, and values. It is this generational difference and its impact on present day decisions that were the focus of this research. Specifically, we predicted that the value function described by prospect theory in the loss domain will differ according to the variables that ultimately define generational cohorts. For example, we hypothesized that individuals from older generations will behave according to value functions that are less steep in the loss domain due to greater adaptation to losses when compared to participants from younger generations who have not yet come to terms with their losses. To explore these hypotheses participants were asked to read and respond to short scenarios describing either a small or large loss in the context of global change risks. Data collected regarding the small and large losses was then used to construct a linear proxy for the loss specific value function. The potential difference in attitude towards loss between generations can be reflected in the strength of preference towards risk taking. As prospect theory states, those in the loss domain are generally risk seeking, but the measure of risk seeking may be higher for those in the younger generations.

W4-C.4  4:30 pm  Using role-play to explore energy perceptions in the US and UK . Thomas M, Pidgeon N*, Partridge T, Harthorn BH; Cardiff University and University of California Santa Barbara

Abstract: We present the results of a novel role play game, which explored the perceived risks and benefits associated with different energy options in in the US and UK. Six day-long workshops focussing on public perceptions of shale gas and oil development were held in four urban locations (Los Angeles and Santa Barbara in the US; London and Cardiff in the UK) and two rural locations (Hirwaun and Winford in the UK). In small groups, participants assumed the role of town councillors and were asked to rank six energy proposals in order of preference: shale gas, shale oil, onshore wind, solar, coal and nuclear; a task that stimulated energetic, in-depth discussions around preferences, conditions and trade-offs. We find that while preferences were in part driven by site-specific familiarity with particular energy sources -especially coal and nuclear- broad themes emerged relating to participants’ decision-making criteria and their conditions for shale exploitation. Particularly important were siting preferences, job provision, safety considerations, justice issues, and export limits. We draw upon our results to discuss the importance of debating energy developments in relation to other options, as well as the significance of local contexts. We also consider the implications for future deep shale fracking in the US and the UK, and elucidate the merits –and limitations- of using role play as a method to engage the public with complex risk decisions.

W4-C.5  4:50 pm  Understanding Attitudes Towards Flood Risk with Prospect Theory. Royal A*; Resources for the Future

Abstract: In the decades since its inception, Kahneman and Tversky’s Prospect Theory (PT) has continued to receive substantial empirical support as the leading quantitative theory of decision-making under risk. This study explores whether PT can deliver insights in the domain of flood risk by testing whether insurance decisions made by homeowners located in the floodplain are predicted by individual differences in loss-aversion, decision-weighting and diminishing sensitivity. A survey of homeowners obtained information on self-reported insurance status and homeowner attitudes towards flood risks and insurance. Each survey participant also encountered a series of real monetary decisions designed to elicit individual risk attitudes and risk perceptions modeled by PT. Participant responses from the survey are paired monetary decisions and used to evaluate how well PT explains decisions in response to flood risk.

[back to schedule]