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Risk perception and codality in a cross-cultural context

WorkgroupPerception and Action Lab
FundingIWM budget resources
Project description

People receive daily warnings of risks through images and texts and are supposed to decide if a certain situation is dangerous. Interestingly, people behave differently toward the same risk situation (like wearing a mask during a pandemic). This raises the question, if risk perception is culturally universal. The goal of this project was to examine how culture and language shape the processes underlying the risk perception.


This project combined research on cognition and social processes. In cooperation with the HSE University in Moscow a first study, focused on the influence of culture on the perception of risk information and on influences of gender, trust and risk-target (orientation of the danger only for the person alone or for the person and others).

Pictorial information transmission receives rising importance nowadays with gaining digitalization. If comprehension processes are comparable in different codalities, is an open question. To this end, experimental design was developed that assesses risk perception at both languages and includes broad range of scenarios, such as finance, health, laws & norms, and emerging topics like artificial intelligence and climate change.

In this project slightly cultural differences in risk perception were confirmed, furthermore it was shown that the expected frequency and confidence in one's own risk perception also play a role. In addition, differences in trust in government organizations were also found. These results provide new insights into the impact of culture and language on information processing. They are relevant for integration policy, conflict resolution and professional training, especially in the recent years global changes and in the context of increasing globalization and multiculturalism.

  • Dr. Anastasia Batkhina, Centre for Sociocultural Research, HSE University Moscow, Russia