Smoking Status and Public Responses to Ambiguous Scientific Risk Evidence
Viscusi, W. Kip
Magat, Wesley A.
Situations in which individuals receive information seldom involve scientific consensus over the level of the risk. When scientific experts disagree, people may process the information in an unpredictable manner. The original data presented here for environmental risk judgments indicate a tendency to place disproportionatew eight on the high risk assessment, irrespective of its source, particularly when the experts disagree. Cigarette smokers differ in their risk information processing from nonsmokers in that they place less weight on the high risk judgment when there is a divergence in expert opinion. Consequently, they are more likely to simply average competing risk assessments.