ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (2): 358-369.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00358

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Public risk perception of terror attacks

LI Kai; GUO Yongyu; YANG Shenlong   

  1. (School of Psychology, Central China Normal University; Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior, Ministry of Education, and Hubei Human Development and Mental Health Key Laboratory, Wuhan 430079, China)
  • Received:2016-02-02 Online:2017-02-15 Published:2017-02-15
  • Contact: GUO Yongyu, E-mail:


Risk perception of terror attacks refers to assessments of the likelihood, potential impacts, and subjective feelings of terror attacks. Unlike the study of other risks, the hazard of terrorism by its very nature is manmade, making it difficult to determine when, where, and what type of attack may occur. The purpose of the present paper is to review three main frameworks which have been proposed to study risk perception of terror attacks, namely, the psychometric paradigm, cultural theory, and the social amplification of risk. Then, key factors influencing humans’ risk perception of terror attacks were reviewed, including media, individual differences, and emotions. Based on this research, the paper concludes that further studies should try to develop standard tools to measure the risk perception of terror attacks, and investigate the mechanisms behind the risk perception of terror attacks. Just as crucial, research specific to the context of China is necessary.

Key words: terrorism, risk perception, the psychometric paradigm, culture theory, the social amplification of risk