Emotional tone and argumentation in risk communication

Denis Hilton
2008 Judgment and Decision Making  
In this paper I explore how the evolution of emotional expression and co-operative planning in humans may inform the way they communicate about risks, and what implication this may have for models of rationality in risk communication. In particular, I focus on aspects of human language that enable successful co-ordination around shared tasks that involve the management of uncertainty by a group. I distinguish between performative (action-oriented) and constative (description-oriented) aspects
more » ... human communication, and argue that the human logical vocabulary of conditionals, quantifiers and probability expressions often conveys pragmatic signals that implicitly encourage or discourage a course of action that is under discussion. I review some studies that illustrate this perspective by highlighting the role of emotional undertone in risk communication and management, and show how it differs from existing models of risk communication and decision-making.
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