Natural Hazard Risk Perception and Place Attachment: A Universal Human Driver? (14628)
We have long known that whilst humans share common instincts and drives, our perceptions of and reactions to hazardous events are unique to the individual and often difficult to predict. Why is it that members of the same community view the threat of fires, floods and heatwaves so differently, even when the risk for these events might be similar in a geographical context? Such individual differences present a significant and ongoing challenge to emergency authorities in effectively communicating natural hazard risk to residents, encouraging the take up of preparatory practices, and facilitating appropriate behavioural responses during emergency events.
First year University psychology students undertook a range of exercises to explore how ‘Place Attachment’ may act as a universal driver of human behaviour in the context of natural hazards. Cultural background and upbringing factored as key variables as to how Home was valued and how natural hazard risks were perceived in the Home context. These findings may contribute to the refinement of existing risk messaging procedures across a range of Australian geographies, with a view to providing tailored communication and educational incentives specific to the cultural diversity of each geographic region.