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Felt vs. factual security

Factual ("objective" or "measurable") security and individually perceived (felt) security are often opposed to each other and do not accord. Citizens always assess risks, threats and uncertainties on a subjective and individual basis, which is influenced by a series of factors, such as for example personal control/efficacy beliefs or optimistic self-overestimation (“overconfidence”).

Gaps between felt and factual security are normal phenomena. More important than a mere gap analysis is an analysis of the distribution of gaps between felt and factual security across society. For example, in the case of natural risks, or risks that citizens perceive as out of their ability to change, we can expect citizens to discount or even discharge risks, leading to a gap between felt and factual security.


  • Parfit, M.: Living with Natural Hazards, in: National Geographic, vol. 194, no. 1 (1998): 2-39.
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