Landslide Risk Perception: Consequences of Failure to Reconcile Contradictory Beliefs

by Donald Gray, Ph.D., (M.ASCE), Emeritus Professor; Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI,,
David Elton, P.E., Ph.D., (F.ASCE), Professor; Department of Civil Engineering, Auburn University, Auburn, AL,,

Serial Information: Geo-Strata —Geo Institute of ASCE, 2015, Vol. 19, Issue 4, Pg. 36-40,42

Document Type: Feature article


While the basis for geotechnical safety is important, public perceptions of risk and its apparent willingness to ignore or discount hazard warnings should also be considered. Why does this problem continue to exist despite huge losses of life and property from landslides the past few decades, and published hazard warnings? What quirk of human nature and circumstances allows this to occur? Selected case studies are used here to explore these questions. In addition, the role of cognitive dissonance is examined as a possible explanation for this unfortunate state of affairs.

Subject Headings: Geohazards | Disaster warning systems | Public health and safety | Landslides | Case studies | Safety | Public opinion and participation


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