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Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy

The Bush School of Government and Public Service

Texas A&M University
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Drs. Liu, Portney, Mumpower, and Vedlitz Published in Risk Analysis

ISTPP researchers, Drs. Xinsheng Liu, Kent Portney, Jeryl Mumpower, and Arnold Vedlitz have published their research, “Terrorism Risk Assessment, Recollection Bias, and Public Support for Counterterrorism Policy and Spending,” in Risk Analysis.

The authors designed and employed a national representative survey to examine the existence, persistence, socio-economic-political base, and policy underpinnings of recollection bias among the general public in the context of a number of domestic and international terrorist attacks.

In this article, recollection bias is defined as the phenomenon whereby, after a traumatic event, people claim their risk assessment of a similar future event is no higher than their recollection of their pre-event risk assessment. Based on the survey data, the authors find strong evidence of the occurrence of recollection bias and its persistence across various forms of terrorism risk. With regard to the social-economic-political base, the authors find that women, older people, political conservatives, and Republicans are less susceptible to recollection bias than their counterparts are. Through data analyses, they further demonstrate that recollection bias significantly dampens public support for a wide range of preventive policy measures and government antiterrorism spending.

Liu, Xinsheng, Kent E. Portney, Jeryl L. Mumpower, and Arnold Vedlitz. 2018. “Terrorism Risk Assessment, Recollection Bias, and Public Support for Counterterrorism Policy and Spending,” Risk Analysis. DOI: 10.1111/risa.13203