Risk perception

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Risk perception plays a role throughout the whole risk appraisal system.


The perception of a certain risk is a subjective process, coloured by people’s prior knowledge, values, feelings, and by the contexts in which the risk is perceived. Thus, peoples’ perceptions of a certain risk do not appear to correlate with the measurable probabilities of the risk, that is, the factors named above have an impact on the way how people understand risks – very often regardless of crude probability numbers.

More info about risk perception

One method to give attention to risk perception is to use an (online) questionnaire to be filled out by professionals that gives insight into the various risk perception determinants of certain risks. Relevant risk aspects are selected based on the psychometric paradigm and were evaluated following a multi-attribute (aspect) utility -evaluation procedure.

Questions addressed include:

  • What is the overall acceptability of the risk(s)?
  • What is the risk profile of the risk(s) on the selected risk aspects?
  • What is the relative importance (weight) of the risk aspects?
  • Which of the risks is most acceptable according to a MAU-evaluation?



An on-line questionnaire (www.icarusvision.com/clients/rivm/ contains an example, but password is needed (ask Anne!)) The questionnaire contains questions on overall acceptance, opinions on 10 selected risk aspects (all on a 7-point scale) and an importance ranking task of the risk aspects. In addition some personal characteristics and disciplinary background of the people filling out the questionnaire can be assessed.


Risk perception is related to all aspects of a risk appraisal.






7 point scale


Risk acceptance on a 7 point scale

See also