Proceedings of The International Conference on Future of Social Sciences and Humanities
Framing effect in risk communication: a sociological perspective
The aim of this paper is to analyze framing as an instrument frequently used by people to understand and respond to risky situations. From a sociological perspective, I try to describe and analyze the mental process involved in risk perception and its root causes. Nowadays, risks are increasingly hard to identify, understand, and analyze, especially by those who are not experts in this field. When asked to prioritize risk, most people tend to filter their knowledge about risky situations through personal, past experiences. When this happens, a proper, objective analysis of the risk is replaced by an emotional, subjective description, which is mostly done in negative terms.For three months, I have conducted several focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews with subjects having different professions, being more or less familiarized with risk field. My research’s objective is to analyze how people perceive and assess risk, including the reasons of their judgments and the language, used when referring to risks. My study tries to approach different types of frames and processes used – especially by media – in order to portray an event or situation as being positive or negative, to imply possible solutions and to shape opinions. The main concepts addressed are a risk, risk perception, and risk communication.
Keywords: risk, risk perception, emotions, media, risk assessment.