Office of Health Promotion Research
Trumbo CW. Information processing and risk perception: An adaptation of the heuristic-systematic model. J Commun. 2002 Jun;52(2):367-381.
The heuristic-systematic information processing model (HSM) holds that individuals will use 1 or both of these modes of information processing when attempting to evaluate information in order to arrive at a judgment. Using survey data, an adaptation of this model is evaluated across a series of 3 cases in which epidemiological information is communicated to communities concerned about cancer rates. This adaptation of the HSM proves to be a potentially useful model for understanding how individuals perceive risk. Although the model does vary across the 3 applications enough to justify inclusion of the case as a control variable, relationships among the model's most important constituent variables are generally consistent and strong. A quarter to a third of the variance in risk perception is predicted by information processing in a structural model having an acceptably close fit to the data.
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