Does Terrorism Influence Us to Switch to Risky Behaviors?

Science writer Wray Herbert has an excellent, provocative piece in The Huffington Post about something called the "dread risk effect," a theory that suggests the effects of terrorism extend well beyond the initial event, and affect long-term behavior choices that are frequently riskier than pre-event behavior. From the piece:

This is the gist of the so-called "dread risk effect" -- first hypothesized in 2004 in the journalPsychological Science. The idea is that terrorist acts indeed create terror. After witnessing such a mass murder, people begin to dread -- and avoid -- situations that are vulnerable to similar mass attacks; and their actions lead to more, but less dramatic deaths, over time. To be specific, scientists believe that terrorized Americans switched from (relatively safe) air travel to (relatively risky) driving in the aftermath of 9/11, a decision that increased road traffic, traffic accidents and fatalities.

Read the entire piece at The Huffington Post

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Posted on June 5, 2012 .