After the virtual flood
After the virtual flood: risk perceptions and flood preparedness after virtual reality risk communication
Abstract: Many individuals experience problems understanding and preparing for low-probability impact risk, like natural disasters and pandemics – unless they experience these events, yet then it is often too late to avoid damages. Individuals with recent disaster risk experience are, on average, better prepared. This seems to be mediated through emotions and a better understanding of the consequences. In this study, we use immersive virtual reality (VR) technology to examine whether a simulated disaster can stimulate people to invest in risk reducing measures in the context of flooding, which is one of the deathliest and most damaging natural disasters in the world. We investigate the possibility to boost risk perception, coping appraisal, negative emotions and damage-reducing behavior through a simulated flooding experience. An important novelty of the current set-up is that we examine the persistence of the effects by using a follow-up survey several weeks after the VR intervention.
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