A previous version of this manuscript was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, Washington, DC, November 1993.
Responses to the Michelangelo Computer Virus Threat: The Role of Information Sources and Risk Homeostasis Theory1
Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 29, Issue 1, pages 23–51, January 1999
How to Cite
Sawyer, J. E., Kernan, M. C., Conlon, D. E. and Garland, H. (1999), Responses to the Michelangelo Computer Virus Threat: The Role of Information Sources and Risk Homeostasis Theory. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 29: 23–51. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1999.tb01373.x
- Issue online: 31 JUL 2006
- Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Computer users were surveyed before and after the Michelangelo trigger date (March 6, 1992) to examine risk perceptions and performance of risky and protective behaviors. Consistent with Risk Homeostasis theory, population risk perceptions changed over the course of the risk period, while personal risk perceptions remained unchanged. Protective behaviors also changed over the virus threat period and were dependent on the passage of the virus trigger date, prior virus experience, and experience during the period of the risk event. This study: (a) provides a scaling of risky and protective behaviors that others may use in future research, (b) suggests a more vivid picture of risk related behavior can be obtained by evaluating personal versus population risk perceptions and risky versus protective behaviors separately, and (c) suggests that training to reduce risks will be most effective if focused on behaviors that are least central to work activities.