Effects of reactive and proactive pictograms and hazard type on perceived risk

This study examined the effects of explicit warning salience on perceived risk. The design was a 4 X 6 mixed factorial. The between-subjects variable was warning label type. Its 4 levels were reactive pictogram plus text, proactive pictogram plus text, text only, and control. Reactive pictograms showed vivid injuries, and proactive pictograms showed protective behaviors. Hazard type was the within-subjects variable. Its 6 levels were bum, acid, inhalation, crush, eye projectile, and laceration. Subjects were presented with scenarios and then asked to rate warning labels. The 5 dependent measures were ratings on perceived level of hazard, level of caution, severity of injury, likelihood of injury, and susceptibility of injury. Compared to text only warnings, reactive warnings were perceived with greater risk than proactive warnings. However, the most interesting results are how certain hazard types were already perceived with a high degree of hazard regardless of the warning label type.