Controlling environmental crisis appraisal through knowledge, vividness, and timing

Sau Kwan, Esha S. Naidu, Michael T. Bixter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Effective communication during disasters ensures that the public realizes the urgency of the crisis. The present research aims to identify factors that influence the perceived urgency and severity of a chronic water crisis in the Southwest United States that may lead to a future megadrought. Findings show knowledge about the interdependence of water and power infrastructures, vividness of the dreadful consequences of droughts, and time of crisis jointly increase perceived urgency and severity of the crisis, thus suggesting three directions for future research. First, knowledge-based interventions may be most effective when the knowledge presented is not already salient. Second, vividness of the crisis could increase the perceived urgency of a crisis. Third, design of future interventions should take into account individuals’ competing needs to satisfy desires for consuming resources versus conserving them; individuals may be less amenable to sustainability interventions when their desire for resources is intense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Climate change
  • Crisis communication
  • Crisis perception
  • Critical infrastructures
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Time perspective
  • Water conservation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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