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|In other words, there is often
little correspondence between actual risk of a hazard and peoplesí perceptions of
threat. It is largely the perception of threat that drives behaviour change, rather than
objective knowledge of a hazard or clear estimations of risk.
These perceptions are more like value judgements and can change depending on the salience (relevance and importance) that events and outcomes have for people.
There is also the question of how much enjoyment, or other benefits a person perceives or believes they derive from the activity. Many enjoyable behaviours, as we have seen, can pose significant risks to health (sex, smoking, drugs, drink, driving, adventure sports, sunbathing are all risky behaviours). The perceived costs, in terms of loss of life quality, in giving up these activities may outweigh the perceived health benefits of doing so. In other words, people will try to maximize their gains while trying to minimize their losses when it comes to behaviours.