I'm trying to understand how experts (professional, i.e. doctors, lawyers and cowboys) and public (regular guy and/or woman) frames would differ when applying "risk rhethoric" to everyday decision-making. Thanks so much!

Expert Answers

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The answer to your question, like originally stated, cites Heath (1997) and his definition of risk rhetoric as a "dialect of benefit and harm". This entails that risk rhetoric is mainly a thinking process where anticipation is key; this anticipation refers to the variance in scenarios that may surface as a result of making a decision.

It is true that schema determines the depth of risk rhetoric. Schema, or the sum of all knowledge of things that the individual has personally experienced, is precisely what is drawn from in order to establish this dialect of benefit and harm.

In order to understand how different people from different walks of life interpret risk factors, or engages in risk rhetoric, the key element is to determine how much exposure to problem solving each person has had. If an individual has not been exposed to many instances of problem solving then it is likely that such person lacks strengths in skills such as:

  • deduct/induct
  • inference
  • backward planning
  • list-making/ check-listing
  • organization/classification/categorization
  • understanding sequences
  • understanding cause/effect
  • recognizing hierarchies
  • following directions
  • paraphrasing and condensing
  • summarizing
  • drawing conclusions

Although all of these processes seem more like academic skills, the reality is that they are cognitive skills altogether that, in a life or death situation, can safe someone's life when applied properly.

This being said, this shows how the more experienced and seasoned problem solver will likely have a more defined process of thinking where all of the right questions will be asked in order to draw the right solutions.

On the other hand, people who are hardly exposed to everyday problem solving and conflict resolution will have the problem of not knowing how to solve a problem because they lack inquiry and question skills. As a result, they will not know that there are consequences to specific activity and that everything counts when it comes to detailing and organizing information. Therefore it is all about problem solving skills and how they apply to specific situations, some more complex and sophisticated than others.

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