© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
The social psychology of seismic hazard adjustment: re-evaluating the international literature
1Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK
2Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK
Abstract. The majority of people at risk from earthquakes do little or nothing to reduce their vulnerability. Over the past 40 years social scientists have tried to predict and explain levels of seismic hazard adjustment using models from behavioural sciences such as psychology. The present paper is the first to synthesise the major findings from the international literature on psychological correlates and causes of seismic adjustment at the level of the individual and the household. It starts by reviewing research on seismic risk perception. Next, it looks at norms and normative beliefs, focusing particularly on issues of earthquake protection responsibility and trust between risk stakeholders. It then considers research on attitudes towards seismic adjustment attributes, specifically beliefs about efficacy, control and fate. It concludes that an updated model of seismic adjustment must give the issues of norms, trust, power and identity a more prominent role. These have been only sparsely represented in the social psychological literature to date.