Terrorism, lightning and falling furniture

Phillips, Peter J and Pohl, Gabriela (2019) Terrorism, lightning and falling furniture. Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression. ISSN 1943-4472

Abstract

From time to time, opinion pieces appear in the media that point out that the risk of being harmed by terrorism is very low. This much is true, at least from an actuarial perspective. These opinion pieces are often accompanied by lists of other, usually absurd, ways that a person is more likely to die, including being struck by lightning or crushed by falling furniture. When asked, people do state a likelihood of being harmed by terrorism that is much greater than the actuarial odds. But risk perception is complex and to many people the actuarial odds of being killed by terrorism versus being killed by falling furniture do not adequately reflect the differences in the nature of risks from these two things. A discussion about risk perception and terrorism cannot start and end with the conclusion that people simply overestimate the risk. To do so would be to overlook the nuances of risk perception and decision-making under conditions of risk and uncertainty. An understanding of the complex ways in which risk perceptions are shaped is essential for those who would seek to accurately characterise, compare and regulate risks in the terrorism context.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published online: 21 March 2019. Accepted version embargoed until 1 October 2020 (18 months), in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - No Department (1 July 2013 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - No Department (1 July 2013 -)
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2019 05:00
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2020 23:55
Uncontrolled Keywords: risk perception; terrorism
Fields of Research : 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140213 Public Economics-Public Choice
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1702 Cognitive Sciences > 170202 Decision Making
16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160604 Defence Studies
14 Economics > 1401 Economic Theory > 140104 Microeconomic Theory
Socio-Economic Objective: A Defence > 81 Defence > 8101 Defence > 810107 National Security
C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940404 Law Enforcement
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/19434472.2019.1595697
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/36630

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