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Worth the risk? Terrorism-induced fear of flying

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2016
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Buesa Blanco, Mikel
Baumert, Thomas
Weiss, David J.
John, Richard S.
Rosoff, Heather
González Gómez, Javier
Shavit, Tal
Rosenboim, Mosi
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Pontificia Universidad Javeriana
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We conducted two bi-national experiments regarding emotional and behavioral responses to a terrorist plot against commercial flights, examining both feelings and projected action. The studies employed hypothetical scenarios in which terrorists attacked airplanes with shoulder-fired missiles as they were landing or taking off from an international airport. The scenarios were built around two factorially crossed manipulated variables, each with three levels: (1) government announcements or actions (2) social norm, expressed as variation in airline ticket sales. Each respondent read a questionnaire containing only one of the nine scenarios. Experiment 1 was conducted in Spain and California (n = 360, 50% female), Experiment 2 in Israel and California (n = 504, 50% female). In both studies, fear and flight plans were not differentially affected by governmental response or social norm. Women expressed more fear than men. Experiment 1 examined the purpose of the trip. Most respondents would not change a planned flight to attend a close friend’s wedding or important job interview, but a substantial number would postpone a vacation or drive to a different location. Experiment 2 featured escalating attacks. These yielded increased fear and more canceled trips. Within both studies, responses were similar across countries despite national differences in direct experience with terrorism.
Se realizaron dos experimentos bi-nacionales con respecto a las respuestas emocionales y conductuales a un plan terrorista contra vuelos comerciales, examinando ambas cosas: sentimientos y proyectos de acción. Los estudios emplearon escenarios hipotéticos en los que los terroristas atacaron los aviones con misiles disparados desde el hombro, ya que estaban aterrizando o despegando desde un aeropuerto internacional. Los escenarios fueron construidos alrededor de dos variables factoriales cruzadas, cada uno con tres niveles: (1) los anuncios o acciones del gobierno (2) norma social, expresada como la variación en la venta de billetes de avión. Cada encuestado leyó un cuestionario que contenía sólo uno de los nueve escenarios. El experimento 1 se realizó en España y California (n = 360, 50% mujeres), el experimento 2 en Israel y California (n = 504, 50% mujeres). En ambos estudios, el miedo y los planes de vuelo no fueron diferencialmente afectados por la respuesta gubernamental o la norma social. Las mujeres expresaron más miedo que los hombres. El experimento 1 examinó el propósito del viaje. La mayoría de los encuestados no cambiarían un vuelo planeado para asistir a la boda de un amigo cercano o para una importante entrevista de trabajo, pero un número considerable de participantes podrían posponer unas vacaciones o ir en coche a un lugar diferente. El experimento 2 contó con la escalada de los ataques. Estas aumentaron el temor y la cantidad de viajes cancelados. En ambos estudios, las respuestas fueron similares en todos los países a pesar de las diferencias nacionales y la experiencia directa con el terrorismo.
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