Values guide individuals to satisfy universal requirements and understand threats


Cross-cultural differences in perceived risk of terrorism were also investigated in the study conducted by Kaptan and colleagues (Kaptan et al., 2013). These authors aimed to explore the relationship between basic human values and risk perception in Turkish and Israeli participants. For measuring basic values, authors used Schwartz Value Theory (SVT; Schwartz, 1994), which defines ten types of values: power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, and security. The SVT proposes that identified values guide individuals to satisfy universal requirements, which are: (a) biological survival, (b) coordinated social interaction, and (c) functioning and survival of the group (Schwartz, 1994). Since terrorism represents a threat to the fulfilment of all above mentioned universal requirements, Kaptan and colleagues expected that the perceived risk would be affected by some of the values defined in the SVT (Kaptan et al., 2013). Results of this study showed that values such as Self-direction, Hedonism, and Security were related to risk perception across both samples of participants (Kaptan et al., 2013). The Self-direction value was correlated negatively with emotional representations about being exposed to terror attacks (Kaptan et al., 2013). This was explained by the previous finding suggesting that people who attribute greater importance to self-direction are less likely to feel anxious regarding personal outcomes (Schwartz, 2009, as cited in Kaptan et al., 2013). Additionally, it was hypothesized that self-control, as a part of the Self-direction value, might be helping people to manage their emotions related to terrorism-related risks (Kaptan et al., 2013). Opposite to that, emotional representations regarding the risk of terrorism were positively correlated with the Security value. This value emphasizes safety, stability, and harmony (Schwartz, 1994). Consequently, if a person gives a great importance to this value it possibly aggravates her negative feelings toward terrorism-related risk (Kaptan et al., 2013). The observed negative correlation between the value of Hedonism and perceived likelihood of terrorist attacks has been explained with the fact that this value is related to preparedness for the new and uncertain situations (Schwartz, 1994), which results in the perception of the environment as less dangerous (Kaptan et al., 2013).

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