Fear Factor (0-10)
The category 'Fear Factor' in the card game is based on the psychometric method. It is an estimate of perceived fear among second and third party people in relation to the accident in question. More specifically, the Fear Factor is an average value, calculated from the following five factors:
- Lack of control over the activity.
- Societal costs of the activity (pollution, injuries, anxieties).
- Inequitable distribution of risks and benefits.
- Unknown, unobservable and new risks.
- The belief that risks are increasing and not easily reducible.
The higher the values of these factors are set, the more dangerous and risky the technology is perceived to be. For example, assessing the Fear Factor for the Comet 1 plane crash accidents in the fifties, we set:
Lack of control over the activity = 10;
Societal costs of the activity = 1;
Inequitable distribution of risks and benefits = 2;
Unknown, unobservable and new risks = 4;
The belief that risks are increasing and not easily reducible = 5,
giving an average of 4.4.
Another example: to find the hazard value for the Bhopal tragedy, we set:
Lack of control over the activity = 8;
Societal costs of the activity = 10;
Inequitable distribution of risks and benefits = 10;
Unknown, unobservable and new risks = 8;
The belief that risks are increasing and not easily reducible = 6,
giving an average of 8.4.
While the Hazard value is based on an expert assessment of the potential dangers of the technologies, as it is done in normative decision analysis, the Fear Factor represents a 'layman estimate' of the potential dangers. As can be seen, the Fear Factor is a more thick and contextual assessment of the accidents, not at all based on an intimate knowledge of the underlying technologies, but based on individual anxieties and broad common sense considerations. An interesting observation from our data is that the lay estimates (Fear Factor) follow the expert estimates (Hazard) quite closely - see graph "HazardFearFactor-comparison.pdf" to the right.
Thus, contrary to common belief, laymen know very well how to assess the disaster potentials of new and old technologies. Therefore, one must be very sceptical of traditional deficit models in risk communication.
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A. Air Transport
C. Land Transport
D. Marine Transport
E. Bridges and Dams
F. Oil Tankers
G. Chemical Industry
H. Medical Industry
I. Nuclear Industry
Quantitative Risk Assessment
Normal Accident Theory
High Reliability Organisations
Fear Factor (0-10)
Media Effect (0-100)