Perceptions of human control over nature/events can be categorised within one of two belief system types: instrumental and ideational


It is stated that the observed positive associations people have about nature and natural items/events can be explained in terms of two types of beliefs: instrumental and ideational (Rozin et al., 2004). Instrumental beliefs refer to the functional superiority of natural entities and include beliefs about natural entities as purer, safer, and more pleasant than artificial entities, while human intervention in nature causes damage (Rozin et al., 2004). On the other side, the ideational factor is based on the moral reasoning and proposes that natural entities are more moral or simply “right” (Rozin, 2005). Similarly, some studies showed that man-made technologies (i.e. nuclear power) are being perceived as immoral and unethical (Frewer, Howard, & Shepard, 1997; Keller Visschers, & Siegrist, 2012). In 2000, Sjöberg conducted a study, which was the first to investigate whether risk assessment in man-made disasters is associated with the perception of artificial technologies as being immoral. In his study, Sjöberg (2000) identified the factor called “tampering with nature” which consist of aspects like “immoral risk” and “human arrogance” and demonstrated the high predictive value of this factor regarding the risk perception. Later studies confirmed that people who tend to perceive man-made technology as tampering with nature also tend to perceive it as riskier (Siegrist & Sutterlin, 2014).

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