Toward Mitigating Actions: Risk Communication Regarding Natural Disaster
Faculty of Psychology, Doshisha University, Tatara, Kyotanabe, Kyoto 610-0394, Japan
Appropriate mitigationmeasures are not always taken even if individuals perceive a high risk of a natural disaster; therefore, merely sharing information on the degree of risk is insufficient when communicating the true danger in a situation. Which aspects should be taken into account in designing a risk communication program against natural disasters? This article reviews this issue based on findings of risk perception studies and theories of social psychology. The focus was placed upon four topics in addressing the link between risk perception and preparedness for action: (1) perceived efficacy of recommendedmitigation measures, (2) trust in risk managers, (3) direct or indirect experience of the disaster, and (4) use of heuristics. This article also addressed the social aspects of human nature in disasters. Immediately after 2011 Tohoku earthquake shocks subsided, mobile phone communication was disabled by the sudden and extremely high demand of users attempting to contact significant others. Emergency evacuation systems, therefore, must be designed with an allowance for the social nature of people trying to confirm the safety of others even when this may conflict with immediate evacuation requirements. The development of an information environment which enables residents to evacuate rapidly, based on psychological findings and advanced technology, was finally discussed.
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