This study examined 60 participants, 30 college students and 30 community residents between the ages of 60 and 75, who had lived in the Southeastern U.S. for at least four years. During individual interviews participants were asked to describe the place in which they would take shelter from a tornado warning in their current home. Then, they described the most appropriate protective actions for a similarly-aged individual new to the area who encountered a tornado warning in several different situations. They also described their own experiences with tornadoes and tornado warnings, particularly their experience during the historic tornado outbreak in the Southeastern U.S. on April 27, 2011.
The poster will present an analysis of participant responses primarily based on two theories from different social sciences. First, Appleton's (1975) prospect-refuge theory of human aesthetics from geography suggests that safe places offer individuals protection, brightness, and order. Second, Grawe's (2007) consistency-theoretical model from neuroscience proposes that the basic needs of attachment, orientation and control, pleasure attraction/pain avoidance, and self-enhancement drive humans to approach or avoid specific stimuli. Using these theories, a categorization scheme is proposed that indicates how protective action responses are facilitated or impeded by participant perceptions. Recommendations for adjusting warning communications and shelter design to influence these perceptions will be discussed.