First Advisor

Lauren B. Frank

Date of Publication

Fall 11-8-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Communication






Risk communication, Risk assessment, Judgment



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 62 pages)


The nature of how we make judgments has received a great deal of attention in the last few decades. Risk communication research has indicated that risk-related messages can elicit affective responses in audiences, which can then have a significant impact on how such audiences judge risk in general. Using a 2 x 2 between-subjects factorial design, this study found that, contrary to Johnson and Tversky's (1983) findings, presenting narratives about lethal risk does not influence readers' judgments about the frequency that risks occur, nor do such narratives influence participant worry levels about the lethal risks, more generally. Additionally, the inclusion of an image alongside both positively and negatively valenced narratives demonstrated no effect on frequency estimates or worry levels. These experimental conditions, although revealing no significant effects, did illuminate the relationship between judgments of risk frequency and corresponding worry levels. Implications for future research on affect and judgments of risk, as well as the relationship between judgments of control and risk assessments, are discussed.


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Persistent Identifier

Included in

Communication Commons