Introduction: Natural hazards, health hazards, terrorist attacks, new technologies, transportation—all of them represent risks in our life. We face some of these risks daily, others rarely, if ever. Some risks constitute a threat to individuals, some to the entire society. We overestimate some risks, while underestimating others. Some risks trigger a strong emotional response, others are perceived more “cold” and rational.
In this chapter, we start with a definition of the concept of risk and how it differs from the concept of uncertainty. We then outline major theories, models, and mediators that influence our perception of risk. Although the models stem from different research programs, highlight different mechanisms, and are often discussed in isolation from each other, they serve as psychological explanations for how we perceive risks in our daily life. (...)
Keywords: risk perception