New Age Beliefs and Societal Risk Perception1


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    This work was supported by the UPRES Education, Cognition, and Development (Nantes University), the UMR Work and Cognition (Mirail University), the SAFE European Network of Excellence, and the Laboratory of Ethics and Work (EPHE).

Etienne Mullet, Quefes 17bis, F-31830 Plaisance, France. E-mail:


The New Age movement is a transpersonal movement focused on mystic awakening and human potential development. It has become an important component in modern risk discourse, as it often goes hand in hand with technology opposition and worries about technology risks. The present study examined the possible relationships between New Age beliefs and societal risk perception. It was shown that several hazards—particularly the ones at the center of current debates about security policies and environmental policies—were perceived as significantly riskier by the New Agers than by others. These (hot) hazards include nuclear waste storage, chemical plants, urban violence, genetically engineered organisms, marijuana, and hospital waste.