Mental models in warnings message design: A review and two case studies

This article examines how people access, evaluate and process information and reviews the psychology of risk perception literature in order to draw out key considerations for effective message design. Two case studies of chemical consumer products illustrate the implementation of the mental models methodology in designing risk communications, combining a quantitative technical assessment of a hazard with qualitative methodologies for assessing beliefs and behaviors that are key determinants of risk. The case studies emphasize the importance of considering not only intrinsic properties of a hazard but also the specific cultural and behavioral decision-making context.