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Cognitive Barriers In Floods Risk Perception And Management: A Mental Modeling Framework And Illustrative Example

I. Linkov, M. Wood, T. Bridges, D. Kovacs, Sarah Thorne, G. Butte
Published 2009 · Business, Computer Science

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Recent severe storm experiences in the U.S. Gulf Coast illustrate the importance of an integrated approach to natural disaster preparedness planning, one that harmonizes stakeholder and implementing agency efforts. Risk management decisions that are informed by and address decision maker and stakeholder risk perceptions and behavior are essential for effective risk management policy. Formal (versus ad hoc) analyses of risk manager and stakeholder cognition represent an important first step. Mental modeling has been successfully used to reveal, characterize and map stakeholder beliefs about risks in order to develop more effective cross-stakeholder communication strategies. This paper summarizes diagram-based representation of mental models, and presents an example specific to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) flood preparedness and response program needs. Understanding flood risk mental models will enable USACE to bridge differences across and within stakeholder groups, cultures and disciplines internally and externally involved in natural disaster response in order to develop approaches for handling floods and other emerging challenges.
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