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‘Emotive factors’ play key role in risk-related behaviours, earthquake study suggests


November 29, 2013   by Canadian Underwriter


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Lloyd’s announced Friday that a psychology professor from University College London won the Lloyd’s Science of Risk prize for a paper on people’s attitudes towards earthquake risk.

Helene Joffe, a professor at UCL’s division of psychology and language sciences, submitted, as part of the competition, a paper that discussed attitudes of earthquake risk in Seattle, Izmir, Turkey and Osaka, Japan.

The awards conference was held Thursday.

The paper, titled Social Representations of Earthquakes: A Study of People Living in Three Highly Seismic Areas, was published last May in the journal Earthquake Spectra. The co-authors were Cliodhna O’Connor, a UCL research associate in clinical, educational and health psychology and UCL civil engineering professor Tiziana Rossetto.

On its website, Lloyd’s quoted Joffe as stating the paper “highlights the worth of focusing not just on how people think about the risks they face but how they feel about them. Emotive and cultural factors play a key role in shaping risk-related behaviours, such as the purchase of earthquake insurance.”

This was the fourth year Lloyd’s held the Science of Risk competition. This year, it accepted submissions on behavioural risk, biological and technological risks and geopolitical and societal risk. The overall winner is awarded £5,000. As of Friday, a British Pound was worth $1.74.

To enter the competition, contestants must submit, in English, a published research paper that relates to emerging risks in one of the competition categories and a written summary of the work of no more than 1,000 words.

The first date of publication of the paper in a journal was required to be on or after Sept. 25, 2008.

Runners up in the biological and technological and the geopolitical and societal risk categories are awarded £2,000. The runners up in the behavioural category gets £500.


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