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Emotion and reason in everyday risk perception

Although research has documented the importance of emotion in risk perception, little is known about its prevalence in everyday life. Using the Experience Sampling Method, 94 part-time students were prompted at random – via cellular telephones – to report on mood state and three emotions and to assess risk on thirty occasions during their working hours. The emotions – valence, arousal, and dominance – were measured using self-assessment manikins (Bradley & Lang, 1994). Hierarchical linear models (HLM) revealed that mood state and emotions explained significant variance in risk perception. In addition, valence and arousal accounted for variance over and above “reason” (measured by severity and possibility of risks). Six risks were reassessed in a post-experimental session and found to be lower than their real-time counterparts. The study demonstrates the feasibility and value of collecting representative samples of data with simple technology. Evidence for the statistical consistency of the HLM estimates is provided in an Appendix.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1108.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision: Jul 2009
Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1108
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. Robin Hogarth & Mariona Portell & Anna Cuxart, 2007. "What risks do people perceive in everyday life? A perspective gained from the experience sampling method (ESM)," Economics Working Papers 1005, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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