8 Regulatory Focus as a Means to Understand Extreme Heat Risk Perception and Response

Tuesday, 27 June 2017
Mt. Pisgah/Mt. Pilot (Crowne Plaza Tennis and Golf Resort)
Christopher F. Labosier, Longwood University, Farmville, VA

Future climate change scenarios suggest more frequent heat waves, impacting cities across the world. As urban populations rise alongside temperatures, the link between urban climate and social systems becomes more relevant and critical in addressing many challenges. Extreme heat poses serious health risks to the elderly, low income individuals, and those engaged in manual outdoor labor. To address these threats, an interdisciplinary approach is needed where meteorology and climate science intersect with the social sciences. This study integrates the fields of meteorology, climatology, and psychology to examine individual’s perceptions of risk and preventative behaviors related to extreme heat. Borrowing from the field of psychology, this study connects an individuals’ regulatory focus with perceptions of risk from extreme heat and behaviors in response to extreme heat. The regulatory focus theory is a goal pursuit theory that suggests individuals exist and pursue tasks on a gradient from promotion-focused to prevention-focused. The proposed research will survey 1000 individuals to identify the relationship between an individual’s regulatory focus (i.e. promotion vs. prevention-oriented) and perceptions of heat risk and behaviors in response to heat waves. It is hypothesized that prevention-oriented individuals will be more likely to heed heat-related warnings and take preventative actions. Results will provide insight into how different personalities perceive extreme heat risk and respond to such threats. Such information can be used to better communicate heat and other weather and climate-related risks.
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