Risk perception is a research field of psychology that examines human perceptions of risks. The aim is to explain why different people have different views of individual risks. Prominent topics include environmental and health risks.
The basic assumption of the psychometric paradigm is that risk is inherent subjectively perceived. Consequently, subjective evaluations were collected and analyzed for the qualitative properties of risks. This allows to create a profile for each risk. This revealed that the qualitative properties determine the ( perceived ) risk level. The most common dimensions of risk profiles are (correlations with risk perception by * marks ):
Using factor analysis, these dimensions have been reduced to a few factors. This approach has proven to be very successful and has established robust results. Two factors were identified as crucial: first fear ( correlated with a lack of control, the dreaded effects, potential for disaster, unequal distribution, increase in risk over time and fatal consequences), and secondly obscurity ( correlated with Nichtbeobachtbarkeit, novelty, unconscious exposure, lack of expertise and delayed consequences). The most consistent research finding is that fear is the best predictor of risk perception of lay people.