318YpT16YSL Risk compensation postulates that everyone has a “risk thermostat” and that safety measures that do not affect the setting of the thermostat will be circumvented by behaviour that re-establishes the level of risk with which people were originally comfortable. It explains why, for example, motorists drive faster after a bend in the road is straightened. Cultural theory explains risk-taking behaviour by the operation of cultural filters. It postulates that behaviour is governed by the probable costs and benefits of alternative courses of action which are perceived through filters formed from all the previous incidents and associations in the risk-taker’s life.; “Risk” should be of interest to many readers throughout the social sciences and in the world of industry, business, engineering, finance and public administration, since it deals with a fundamental part of human behaviour that has enormous financial and economic implications.
About the AuthorJohn was a member of the original Board of Directors of Friends of the Earth in the early 1970s and has been involved in public debates about environmental issues ever since. He has presented evidence to numerous public inquiries and parliamentary committees on forecasting, traffic modelling, cost-benefit analysis and risk assessment, and is a regular contributor to radio and television programmes and broadsheet newspapers on transport and risk themes.

He is intrigued by the persistence of attitudes to environmental risks. Ever since his  involvement with Friends of the Earth almost 30 years ago, the same arguments, slogans and insults have been shouted past each other by the participants (or their descendants) in debates about the environment. In his current work on both risk and transport issues, John seeks to understand these attitudes and the reasons for their persistence, in the hope of transforming shouting matches into more constructive dialogues.


Genre: Risk Psychology