Anxiety after the Tohoku Earthquake

Nakayachi, Yokoyama, and Oki (2014) investigated how risk perception and affect may change following a large-scale disaster; such changes could influence individuals’ willingness to take important safety measures. The authors compared data from two national surveys in Japan, one conducted before the 2011 Tohoku quake and associated Fukushima nuclear accident (during which nearly 20,000 people [...]

Failing to Learn from Experience about Catastrophes

How do people make decisions about protecting themselves from low-probability, high-consequence events like earthquakes and hurricanes? According to Meyer (2012), anecdotal evidence suggests that we have a short memory for the results of such disasters. For example, although the purchase of flood insurance policies increased dramatically immediately following Hurricane Katrina, the rate quickly dropped to [...]

Appropriate Psychosocial Support in International Emergencies

When international disasters hit, well-meaning U.S. psychologists are often eager to volunteer to provide aid. Unfortunately, this process of “parachuting” may cause unintended harm, according to Peace Psychology expert, Michael Wessells (2009). These psychologists often have no experience in international emergencies, little understanding of the local culture, and no relationship with agencies or individuals in [...]

Terrorism Salience Increases Authoritarian Parenting

The threat of terrorism has become increasingly salient in Western societies following the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, the 2004 Madrid train bombings, and the 2005 London bombings. Previous research has indicated that perceived threat increases authoritarian attitudes, such as intolerance, conforming to authority, and aggression toward violators of social norms. Fischer and colleagues investigated [...]