On the perception and operationalization of risk perception

Yoav Ganzach*, Shmuel Ellis, Asya Pazy, Tali Ricci-Siag

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We compare and critique two measures of risk perception. We suggest that a single question - "How risky is the situation?" - captures the concept of risk perception more accurately than the multiple-item measure used by Sitkin and Weingart (1995). In fact, this latter measure inadvertently captures notions of attractiveness or expected return, rather than risk perception. We further propose that the error underlying the construction of Sitkin and Weingart's measure is explained in terms of a top-down model of risk perception, in which perceived risk and perceived return are consequences, rather than determinants, of attractiveness. Two studies compare the validity of the two alternative measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-324
Number of pages8
JournalJudgment and Decision Making
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Behavioral decision making
  • Behavioral economics
  • Heuristics and biases
  • Judgment
  • Risk perception


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