How often have I wished I had the publications of particularly productive scientists bound together in one document. Despite modern IT-technique, which increases the availability of such publications, an appropriate book is still superior. Now there is such a book for those who are interested in risk from a psychological point of view. Its title is: "The Perception of Risk" and it contains 26 of the most important publications by Paul Slovic from the last 25 years. It starts with an introduction in which Paul summarizes and gives his perspectives on his papers.
No one who has come across the term risk perception can have missed Paul Slovic's name. As one of the leading scientists in the field of risk perception, Paul has covered large areas and tackled various problems in order to show how we view, react to, and handle situations and problems related to what we in common language call risk.
To call him one of the founders of the psychometric paradigm is too plain a characterization of the scientific contribution of Paul Slovic. The psychometric methodology is just the means he has used to study how human beings perceive, judge and make decisions about risk in various situations. He has introduced psychological aspects of risk into natural sciences, where risk earlier has been considered as a numerical and objectively assessable quantity. Now physicists, chemists, and even engineers realize that risk perception cannot be ignored and is influenced by many factors (e.g. voluntariness, familiarity, dread, equity) relating to risk and how risk is described. For those who want to make risk comparisons, inform people about risks or do anything else regarding risk, it is necessary to be familiar with risk perception.
With his great openness, Paul has been able to collaborate with scientists from many different areas, both scientifically and geographically. In this way he has improved and enriched his work with practical aspects in many domains, particularly radioactivity and use of chemicals. Therefore it possible for most scientists to find in this book interesting reading related to their own problems. The book only contains about an eighth (but a representative sample) of Paul's total scientific production. As the papers are ordered chronologically, it is easy to follow the development in time of different ideas and conclusions and to see how later studies derive from earlier ones in a logical way. Thus, in the two last chapters of the book, the ideas and views on risk are further expanded and offer exciting vistas for the future. In the same way as many of Paul's earlier ideas have been accepted and continued by later researchers, his recent views about "the affect heuristic" most certainly will be the subject for many future scientific publications.