Natural vs manmade causes

Nonhuman impacts

Number of people affected

Occupational vs nonoccupational exposure

Personal awareness of risk or danger

Personal experience and knowledge

Personal influence or responsibility

Possibility of error


Probability or frequency of adverse events or effects


Reversibility of effects

Severity of effect (for example, major vs minor, large vs small, fatal vs survivable, painful vs painless)

Size of the population at risk

Spatial distribution of risks

Speed with which adverse events occur

Transgenerational effects



Hohenemser, C., R.W. Kates, and P. Slovic. 1983. The nature of technological hazard. Science 220 (4495):378-384.

Jenni, K.E. 1997. Attributes for Risk Evaluation. Ph.D. Dissertation, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.

Litai, D., D. Lanning, and N. Rasmussen. 1983. The public perception of risk. Pp. 213-224 in The Analysis of Actual Versus Perceived Risks , V. Covello, W. Flamm, J. Rodericks and R. Tardiff, eds. New York: Plenum Press.

Lowrance, W.W. 1976. Of Acceptable Risk: Science and the Determination of Safety. Los Altos, CA: W. Kaufmann.

Rowe, W.D. 1977. An Anatomy of Risk. New York: Wiley.

Slovic, P., B. Fischhoff, and S. Lichtenstein. 1984. Behavioral decision theory perspectives on risk and safety. Acta Psychologica 56:183-203.

Vlek, C. and P.J. Stallen. 1980. Rational and personal aspects of risk. Acta Psychologica 45:273-300.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement