Handbook of Behavioral and Cognitive Geography
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Handbook of Behavioral and Cognitive Geography

Edited by Daniel R. Montello

This comprehensive Handbook summarizes existing work and presents new concepts and empirical results from leading scholars in the multidisciplinary field of behavioral and cognitive geography, the study of the human mind, and activity in and concerning space, place, and environment. It provides the broadest and most inclusive coverage of the field so far, including work relevant to human geography, cartography, and geographic information science.
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Chapter 18: Environmental risks and hazards from a cognitive-behavioral perspective

Patricia Gober


This chapter provides an overview of the way science and policy communities conceptualize environmental risk of individuals and communities, and shows how these ideas have influenced public policy, focusing on climate change and urban water conservation. Social and environmental scientists have stressed the interconnections between natural events and human perceptions and behaviors to understand the risk of harm from natural hazards. Harm from hazards has been conceptualized from a political economy perspective, as a pressure and release process, and from the Social Amplification of Risk Framework. Prospect Theory and heuristics also offer insight into the way people make decisions in the face of known probabilities. Environmental scientists differentiate between the experiential and analytical aspects of decision making and use these ideas to understand climate change attitudes and water conservation behaviors.

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