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Session 221 Risk Communication “Traps” The application of inappropriate techniques leading to the development of misinformation and consequently poor decision.

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Presentation on theme: "Session 221 Risk Communication “Traps” The application of inappropriate techniques leading to the development of misinformation and consequently poor decision."— Presentation transcript:

1 Session 221 Risk Communication “Traps” The application of inappropriate techniques leading to the development of misinformation and consequently poor decision making Incorrect information leading to direct decision making mistakes Poor content sending wrong messages and dispersing effort Slow communication of identified problems causing delays and indicating poor management commitment, understanding and leadership

2 Session 222 Elements of Communications Guidance Perspective of the media: how they think and work The public as the end-recipient of information Concise presentations Techniques for responding to and cooperating with the media in conveying information and delivering messages, before, during, and after a crisis Practical guide to the tools of the trade of media relations and public communications Strategies and tactics for addressing the probable opportunities and the possible challenges likely from communications initiatives

3 Session 223 Well-Known Risk Communications Campaigns Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” CDC HIV/AIDS Education FDA Nutritional Labels DHS Websitewww.Ready.gov FEMA Preparation and Prevention Website

4 Session 224 FDA Food Labels

5 Session 225 DHS

6 Session 226 Failed Communications Can: Waste recipients time Waste resources dedicated to risk communication Deny people empowerment for dealing with the risk Cause resentment towards the communicator(s) if people feel that they are being denied an opportunity to understand Cause people to doubt themselves if the experience leaves them feeling incapable of understanding Contribute inadvertently to controversy and conflict Create threats larger than those posed by the risks that they describe

7 Session 227 What People Want from Risk Communications Advice and Answers Numbers Process and Framing

8 Session 228 Extreme Criticisms Lay public as a whole is “technically illiterate and ruled by emotion rather than by substance.” Education is pointless, even if it is possible, because “important decisions about risk are made by special interests and power.” Risk communication is typically manipulative, designed to sell unsuspecting recipients on the communicator’s political agenda.

9 Session 229 Milder Criticisms Because people’s time is short, they can’t learn about, much les influence, all risks. As a result, people often want specialists to make sure that life doesn’t get too hazardous. Without trust in the official performing the actual communication, the learning process is very complicated. Risk specialists may not like to acknowledge their own emotional involvement nor to deal with that of the public.

10 Session 2210 Poor Risk Communication Can Undermine effective decision making Create feelings of helplessness Erode public faith in authorities Erode authorities’ faith in public Erode social coordination produced by sharing information sources

11 Session 2211 A Simple Communication Strategy 1. Analytically identify the most critical information for decisions facing audience 2. Empirically determine current beliefs 3. Close most critical gaps, recognizing audience’s information-processing limits 4. Evaluate; repeat as needed

12 Session 2212 A (Complex) Working Hypothesis People will do sensible things if: They get relevant information in a concise, credible form with adequate context, and without needless distractions They have control over their environment and are judged by their own goals So, if citizens don’t understand, assume a communication failure

13 Session 2213 Decision-focused SARS Reporting (a possible formulation)

14 Session 2214 Decision-focused SARS Reporting What are my chances of exposure? What are my chances of getting sick? What are my chances of being untreatable?

15 Session 2215 For Each Element, Audience Needs Useful numbers -- give order-of-magnitude feeling -- clarify verbal quantifiers (rare, likely) -- allow rudimentary calculations Useful theory -- give numbers credibility -- allow updating numbers -- provide increasing competence

16 Session 2216 What are my chances of exposure? Useful numbers -- total cases -- total population Useful theory -- where are they concentrated? -- how long are they contagious? -- how well do we know?

17 Session 2217 What are my chances of getting sick? Useful numbers -- disease multiplier -- effectiveness of exposure routes -- effectiveness of protection strategies Useful theory -- how does transmission work? -- what’s this about [sewers, feces, cockroaches, masks…]? -- how well do we know?

18 Session 2218 What are my chances of being untreatable? Useful numbers -- survival rates -- recurrence rates Useful theory -- why do treatments vary? -- why are healthy people dying? -- how well do we know?

19 Session 2219 Very low probabilities Cumulative risk (from repeated exposure) Anchored judgments Unfamiliar units, terms (e.g., risk, reactor-year) Unfamiliar states Incommensurable comparisons Difficult Kinds of Information (with partial solutions)

20 Session 2220 Knowledge Inferential ability Appropriateness of confidence Appropriateness of self-efficacy Personally rational choices Satisfaction (?) What’s Getting Through? (possible performance measures)

21 Session 2221 Some Suggestions Authoritative summaries of cognitive research Worked examples (vs. principles) Standard reporting formats Professional translators (to decision-relevant form) Consulting behavioral decision researchers Institutional analysis of failures


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