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A long-term goal for warning message designers is to determine the most effective type of message that can instruct individuals to act quickly and prevent loss of life and/or injury when faced with an imminent threat. One likely way to increase an individual’s behavioral intent to act when they are faced with risk information is to provide protective action information or guidance. This study investigated participant perceptions (understanding, believing, personalizing, deciding, milling, self-efficacy, and response-efficacy) in response to the National Weather Service’s experimental product Twitter messages for three hazard types (tornado, snow squall, dust storm), with each message varying by inclusion and presentation of protective action information placed in the tweet text and the visual graphic. We also examine the role of prior hazard warning experience on message perception outcomes. To examine the effects, the experiment used a between-subjects design where participants were randomly assigned to one hazard type and received one of four warning messages. Participants then took a post-test measuring message perceptions, efficacy levels, prior hazard warning experience, and demographics. The results showed that for each hazard and prior hazard experience level, messages with protective action guidance in both the text and graphic increase their understanding, belief, ability to decide, self-, and response-efficacy. These results reinforce the idea that well-designed messages, that include protective action guidance, work well regardless of hazard type or hazard warning experience.


This is the Author's Accepted Manuscript. The version of record can be found here:

Fischer, L., Huntsman, D., Orton, G., & Sutton, J. (2023). You Have to Send the Right Message: Examining the Influence of Protective Action Guidance on Message Perception Outcomes across Prior Hazard Warning Experience to Three Hazards, Weather, Climate, and Society (published online ahead of print 2023).



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