Thesis subject

Persuading others about risks

Life is full of minor and major risks. In order to deal with these risks, people can employ different strategies such as looking for additional information, taking protective measures, or demanding protection from authorities.

Humans are social animals and they also often engage in discussing risks with other people around them. Recent research (Cheatham & Tormala, 2017) suggests that there is a relation between the extent to which people are certain about their attitudes and their willingness to discuss and persuade others’ about their opinion.

The goal of this research would be to investigate whether those results would extend in risk contexts, that is, whether risk-related opinions also show an association with persuasion of others. The specific risk context will be discussed with the thesis supervisor, but should be related to the Wageningen domain: e.g., ecological risks, zoonoses, climate risks, water management risks, food additives, biotechnology, etc.

Given the broad scope, this thesis topic is open to students from different study programs (such as in the domains of communication science, food science, environmental science, animal science, etc.). An interest in using qualitative research methods is essential for this thesis project.