Risk, Perception, and Response Conference
March 20-21, 2014
Sunstein to be Keynote Speaker
We are pleased to announce that Cass R. Sunstein will be the keynote speaker for HCRA’s Risk, Perception, and Response conference. Mr. Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard and founded the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (with Richard H. Thaler, 2008) and most recently Simpler: The Future of Government (2013). From 2009 to 2012, he was Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
Registration opens December 2013.
For lodging, please contact the Inn at Longwood Medical.
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Harvard School of Public Health
677 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
How people react to scientific evidence of risk is mediated by many factors, including how risk information is perceived and communicated, how we react to social and cultural influences, and how choices are structured. Examples abound of situations where individuals’ risk perceptions lead them to act in ways that appear contrary to their own interests, overreacting to or neglecting risks. How can situations in which individuals are likely to respond poorly be identified, and what can be done to improve their responses? To increase our understanding of the factors that contribute to these behaviors and to develop better options for fostering sound decisions, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis is commissioning papers for presentation at a March 20-21, 2014 conference and subsequent publication.
Limited attention, emotional reactions, and difficulties in processing risk-related information, among other factors, may lead individuals to act in ways that impair their health or welfare. For example, warnings about mercury in fish can lead people to decrease their overall fish consumption and hence their consumption of healthful omega-3 fatty acids. Concerns about autism can lead to vaccine avoidance, increasing the individual’s risk of disease and the risk of transmission to others. Such behaviors may result from incomplete, inaccurate, or ineffective risk communication, or may occur even if the risk is well-communicated. Choice architecture, popularized by Thaler and Sunstein’s Nudge, also affects behavior. To promote welfare-enhancing decisions, better understanding of these causal factors is needed, together with innovative approaches for overcoming them.
Call for Papers
The deadline for submissions has passed. The Call for Papers is provided for information only.
We thank the following for their thoughtful review of the submissions:
John Besley (Michigan State University); Frederic Bouder (Maastricht University); Frank Hearl (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health); Margot Kuttschreuter (University of Twente); Randall Lutter (Resources for the Future); Katherine McComas (Cornell University); Clark Nardinelli (U.S. Food and Drug Administration); David Ropeik (Harvard University); Louise Russell (Rutgers University); Karen Sepucha (Harvard University); Douglass Shaw (Texas A&M University); Paul Slovic (Decision Research); Craig Trumbo (Colorado State University); Eve Wittenberg (Harvard University); Felicia Wu (Michigan State University).
Funding for this project is provided by the Risk of Risk Perception Project of the Center for Risk Science Innovation and Application of the ILSI Research Foundation.