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Abstract

This review examines the psychological literature on risk perception in terms of van Ravenswaay's proposal of a broad-based definition of risk perception that includes the three concepts of chance, harm, and context. The review further investigates the manner in which psychological researchers attempt to measure risk perception. It is suggested that the majority of psychological research on risk perception does not address van Ravenswaay's concepts in a comprehensive manner. This review of the psychological literature reveals that elements of van Ravenswaay's concepts are often employed as variables by psychological researchers, although not in a fashion similar to that suggested by van Ravenswaay. It is proposed that van Ravenswaay's definition of risk perception would go far toward alleviating much of the difficulty in interpreting and comparing studies from competing disciplines. It is also proposed that the literature reveals serious implications concerning economists's risk perception proxies.

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