This study was supported by grants to Decision Research from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and from the National Science Foundation (Grant No. SBR-9422754). The article is based on the first author's master's thesis. The survey items were designed in collaboration with Karl Dake, James Flynn, C. K. Mertz, Robin Gregory, Don MacGregor, Marc Poumadere, and Claire Mays. C. K. Mertz provided valuable assistance with analysis of the data. Lew Goldberg provided valuable statistical advice. We wish to thank Debbie Frisch, Lew Goldberg, Myron Rothbart, and an anonymous reviewer for insightful comments on an earlier version of this paper.
The Role of Affect and Worldviews as Orienting Dispositions in the Perception and Acceptance of Nuclear Power1
Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 26, Issue 16, pages 1427–1453, August 1996
How to Cite
Peters, E. and Slovic, P. (1996), The Role of Affect and Worldviews as Orienting Dispositions in the Perception and Acceptance of Nuclear Power. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 26: 1427–1453. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1996.tb00079.x
- Issue online: 31 JUL 2006
- Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Recent research in risk perception has examined the role of affect and worldviews as orienting dispositions that guide people's decisions about complex and risky topics such as nuclear energy. This study tests and supports the hypothesis that worldviews and affect-laden imagery are highly predictive of perceptions of risk from nuclear power and support for that technology. Furthermore, affect and worldviews each contribute independently to the prediction of nuclear support. We find also that a person's affective imagery associated with nuclear power is systematically related to their worldviews. We conclude that affect and worldviews appear to play similar roles as orienting mechanisms, helping people navigate in a complex, uncertain, and sometimes dangerous world. The implication of this view for the practice of risk communication is briefly discussed.