Pluralistic ignorance and the climate of opinion in a real-time disaster prediction

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This study employed a four-fold typology of opinion groups depicting the relationships between minority-majority status and accurate-inaccurate perception of the climate of opinion about the 1990 prediction of a destructive earthquake for the mid-United States New Madrid Seismic Zone. Data were collected from 629 residents of the area where the earthquake was predicted to occur. Two frameworks were employed to define the climate of opinion to take into account two key variables that influence public response to earthquake predictions: the prediction's believability and its importance. Accurate perceptions of the climate of opinion were differentiated from inaccurate perceptions based on more frequent media use and the confidence respondents felt about protecting themselves from potential earthquake damages. Inaccurate perceptions of the climate of opinion are differentiated not by more extensive media use and discussions, but by the credibility placed on the information from the news media and discussions, as well as the perceived influence of these information sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-190
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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