Forster (1999) argues that simple heuristic mechanisms can indeed fit the environmental structures of a complex world, but he admits that the mechanisms are highly domain specific and choosing the wrong assumptions can hinder the performance of proven heuristics. Empirical tests of heuristics tend to isolate a single heuristic; however, it is likely that individuals utilize more than one heuristic (potentially from different classes) simultaneously in decision making under real-world circumstances. The characteristics that define climate risks from most other risks create increased complexities for testing heuristics. The use of heuristics in the public’s perception of climate risk is to this point a relatively unchartered research area 13 (e.g. Weber, 2005). We present a staged model for climate risk decision-making in the following section. Such a model makes it possible to trace the development of a risk preference through isolating factors which are responsible for fast and frugal methods versus those which are semi-conscious interactions with the decisions and finally, well-reasoned and conscious considerations. Staged models from the social psychology literature offer structural relationships between both System I and System II elements and the pathway to an individual’s behavioral preference. The Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975 and 1980) provides a schematic linkage of behavioral intention with the elemental attitudes and subjective norms with which the actor is faced (Figure 1). The underlying concept is summarized by: BI = (AB)W1+(SN)W2+(PBC)W3, where BI: behavioral intention AB: attitude towards performing behavior SN: subjective norm for doing PBC: perceived behavioral control W: empirically derived weights In past applications of the model (e.g. consumer behavior) psychologists have obtained relative values for W1, W2, and W3 through complex self-reported scales over specific detailed scenarios (e.g. Hale et al., 2003). The Triandis (1971) Model of Interpersonal Behavior (Figure 2) provides a reasonable schematic linking of social aspects to influencing conditions, attitudes, experience, and emotions. Though this model has been implemented less than the Ajzen-Fishbein formulation, where it has been applied, it appears to have additional explanatory value, particularly by including the concepts of beliefs and habits. Triandis offers an explicit role for affective factors on behavioral intentions. In doing so, the model captures many of the criticisms leveled at rational choice theory.
the expectancy-value (EV) theory of Fishbein and Ajzen (1975).
Beliefs & values related to the attitude towards a item or action
EVT has three basic components. First, individuals respond to novel information about an item or action by developing a belief about the item or action. If a belief already exists, it can and most likely will be modified by new information. Second, individuals assign a value to each attribute that a belief is based on. Third, an expectation is created or modified based on the result of a calculation based on beliefs and values. For example, a student finds out that a professor has a reputation for being humorous. The student assigns a positive value to humor in the classroom, so the student has the expectation that their experience with the professor will be positive. When the student attends class and finds the professor humorous, the student calculates that it is a good class.
Therefore, we have several options for trying to persuade someone. The first group of options are like the strategies identified by information integration theory:
-strengthen the belief strength of an attitude that supports the persuasive goal.
-strengthen the evaluation of an attitude that supports the persuasive goal
-weaken the belief strength of an attitude that opposes the persuasive goal
-weaken the evaluation of an attitude that supports the persuasive goal
-create a new attitude with a belief strength and evaluation that supports the persuasive goal
-remind our audience of a forgotten attitude with a belief strength and evaluation that supports the persuasive goal.
For example, suppose you wanted to persuade your roommate, Pat, to go see a movie. If Pat had a positive attitude toward that movie (“I’ve heard that movie is funny”), you could try to increase the belief strength (“Everyone says it is funny; no question about it”) or evaluation (“That movie isn’t just funny, its hilarious!”) of that attitude. If Pat had a negative attitude toward attending the movie (“The movie theater is decrepit”) you could try to reduce the belief strength (“They remodeled it”) or evaluation (“The important thing is the movie, not the theater”) of that negative attitude. You could create a new favorable attitude (“I heard the soundtrack to this movie is great!”) or remind Pat of a favorable attitude.
However, the addition of subjective norms creates several other options:
-strengthen a normative belief that supports the persuasive goal
-increase the motivation to comply with a norm that supports the persuasive goal
-reduce a normative belief that opposes the persuasive goal
-reduce the motivation to comply with a norm that opposes the persuasive goal
-create a new subjective norm that supports the persuasive goal
-remind the audience of a forgotten subjective norm that supports the persuasive goal.
For example, you could try to strengthen an existing normative belief (“No one should sit home on a Friday night”) or increase the motivation to comply (“You’ll really be depressed if you stay home — people are right when they say you shouldn’t stay home on the weekend”). If Pat thinks it is wrong to go to a movie with a roommate instead of a date, you could try to weaken this normative belief or her motivation to comply with it. Furthermore, you could try to create a new norm (“Everybody is going to see movies made by this director”) or remind Pat of a forgotten norm.