UKRI has published a new report following a research project examining Public behaviour in response to perceived hostile threats. The project is led by John Drury and involves researchers from various universities across the UK and Sweden using a coproduction methodology with practitioners and policymakers from multiple government departments and emergency response agencies.


The authors analysed archive data, interviews, video data analysis, and virtual reality technology to test hypotheses about underlying psychological mechanisms in false alarms and public interventions against hostile threats. The briefing report provides recommendations for practitioners and policymakers, including embedding the psychology of public behaviour in emergencies in training and guidance, building long-term relations with the public, using a unifying language and supportive communication, and prioritising informative and actionable risk and crisis communication. The report also suggests that authorities should take a reflexive approach to analysing their responses and provide emotional support to the public. Finally, the document recommends providing first aid kits on transport infrastructure to enable members of the public to act as zero responders.


More information is available online on the ESRC-funded project ‘Perceived threats and “stampedes”: a relational model of collective fear responses’.


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