University of Twente Student Theses


Gevaar Zoönosen? : een ‘mental model’ onderzoek naar Vogelgriep

Wehming, M. (2015) Gevaar Zoönosen? : een ‘mental model’ onderzoek naar Vogelgriep.

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Abstract:Background. More than half of all infectious diseases originate from animals. Today, zoonoses form a crucial social problem. Due to the insufficiency of knowledge, people are not aware of the risks from zoonoses and thereby act ineffectively. People do not know how to protect themselves against zoonoses and what they should do in case of an infection. The gap of knowledge is caused by ineffective transmission of information. The given information about zoonoses is based on the level of knowledge and interests of experts. These expert models do not fit to the mental models of the general public, because experts have a more specific knowledge about zoonoses and are interested in different aspects. Due to the discrepancy between expert and public model, the risk communication about zoonoses fails to inform and teach the people adequately. Objective. The purpose of this study is to investigate the mental models of the general public regarding the zoonosis avian influenza. Further, these mental models are compared to an expert model of avian influenza to determine the misconceptions of the public. Eventually, these misconceptions can reveal insights in the aspects which interfere in the risk communication. Method. In order to identify the level of knowledge and misconceptions of the public in relation to avian influenza, qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted. Through thematic analysis, the mental models of the public were found. The models contain information about propagation, infection, consequences and treatment. Finally, the mental models were compared with an expert model about avian influenza. Results. The analysis shows that some participants have correct beliefs about the infection of avian influenza. Most misconceptions of the participants were related to propagation, consequences and prevention of avian influenza. Conclusion. The results show the importance of a change in risk communication of avian influenza. Based on the discovered mental models and misconception of the public, the risk communication can be improved. Therefore, psychological models can be applied in order to reach the public with the given information.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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