SCIRA - Structure and Effects of Societal Communication on non-Ionizing Radiations
The study investigates how risks related to non-ionising radiation could be communicated to the general public. In particular, it focuses on the problem of communicating an unknown risk and on the type of risk message that may motivate proper behavioural responses.Risk communication related to non-ionising radiation (NIR) has to take into account that the issue is already a focus of public interest. Knowledge, attitudes, risk assessments, patterns of perception and social structures, such as activist networks, already exist. Any attempt to inform the public about NIR faces the challenges of alerting people to possible health damage without alarming or worrying them needlessly and of putting the risk in perspective without defining it down. The research will investigate problematic aspects of the communicative processes related to NIR risks. The study will provide insights on how to design messages that address unjustified fears of NIR. At the same time, the study will examine the interplay of source credibility and message strategy, which has received limited empirical study, particularly as it relates to health communication. Finally, the study will explore the role of micro-cultural variation in Switzerland and its impact on the design of health promotion information in a new context.