J2.1 Perception Principals and the Making of Meaning In Wx Warnings

Wednesday, 21 June 2017: 10:30 AM
Salon III (InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza)
Susan A. Jasko, California Univ. of Pennsylvania, California, PA

Understanding how context plays a critical role in how people come to understand and integrate information into their perspective is a vital part of planning how to create more weather aware and severe weather ready communities and individuals. But context is one element in the process of human communication. Communication is a complex, rich, and complicated process built on the patterns and characteristics of human perception and memory. The ways we learn, how we perceive, and how we make decisions all play a role in understanding how non-experts experience and may understand weather warnings.

We know the world through our sensory perception. Our perception is based on patterns and principles (Gestalt), such as:






These principles are echoed up and down the nervous system and are reflected in our habits of thought. Some of the habits are called “biases” and these are salient to how we interpret warning and other information and are related to the Gestalt principles of perception. Some of these biases that seem most to apply to weather messaging are complexity, availability, selective perception, and the optimism bias. Research into weather messaging shows up these biases. Might the context of the principles of perception help provide a launching pad for modifying severe weather messaging?

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