Dimensions of perception and recognition of danger
Despite abundant literature on human behaviour in the face of danger, much remains to be discovered. Some descriptive models of behaviour in the face of danger are reviewed in order to identify areas where documentation is lacking. It is argued that little is known about recognition and assessment of danger and yet, these are important aspects of cognitive processes. Speculative arguments about hazard assessment are reviewed and tested against the results of previous studies. Once hypotheses are formulated, the reason for retaining the reportory grid as the main research instrument are outlined, and the choice of data analysis techniques is described. Whilst all samples used repertory grids, the rating scales were different between samples; therefore, an analysis is performed of the way in which rating scales were used in the various samples and of some reasons why the scales were used differently. Then, individual grids are looked into and compared between respondents within each sample; consensus grids are also discussed. the major results from all samples are then contrasted and compared. It was hypothesized that hazard assessment would encompass three main dimensions, i.e. 'controllability', 'severity of consequences' and 'likelihood of occurrence', which would emerge in that order. the results suggest that these dimensions are but facets of two broader dimensions labelled 'scope of human intervention' and 'dangerousness'. It seems that these two dimensions encompass a number of more specific dimensions some of which can be further fragmented. Thus, hazard assessment appears to be a more complex process about which much remains to be discovered. Some of the ways in which further discovery might proceed are discussed.