See New Bachelor Thesis Assignments

Risk-information sufficiency, confidence, and ease of retrieval


In order for people to be prepared for calamities, such as floods, earthquakes, and terrorism, it is important that they look for information pertaining to these risks. An important factor for people’s  decisions to look for additional risk-related information (or avoid doing so), is information sufficiency, i.e., whether people believe they have enough risk-related information. More specifically, the motivation to look for more information depends on how much information we feel we actually have (confidence) in contrast to what and how much we need in order to feel certain (Kievik, ter Huurne & Gutteling, 2012; ter Huurne, 2008; Yang, Aloe & Feeley, 2014). The latter has been tested in earlier studies; they show that increasing the risk motivates more information-seeking behaviour, because people feel a greater need to make a good judgment. However, as it is rather hard to actually undermine people’s confidence in the information they have, the role of confidence, central to models as RISP and FRIS, has never been tested directly. As such, it is still unclear whether this confidence actually matters when it comes to information-seeking behaviour.

In other domains, however, the ease-of-retrieval manipulation has been used to influence people’s opinions. It has been shown, for instance, that asking participants for 5 or 7 examples of assertive behaviour they themselves have displayed causes people to rate their own assertiveness lower compared to when they had been asked to list only three such examples. Apparently, listing 5 or 7 was difficult, causing them to feel less confident about their assertiveness, whereas 2 was easy, resulting in a boost in confidence.

This project aims to be the first to show the importance of judgemental confidence by manipulating this variable directly (!) and testing the effects on information-seeking behaviour.


attitudinal confidence, judg(e)mental confidence, ease of retrieval, information sufficiency, risk-information sufficiency


Please contact Jan Gutteling ( if you are interested in this assignment.




Dijksterhuis, A., Macrae, C. N., & Haddock, G. (1999). When recollective experiences matter: Subjective ease of retrieval. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25(6), 760-768.

Kievik, Milou, ter Huurne, Ellen FJ, & Gutteling, Jan M. (2012). The action suited to the word? Use of the framework of risk information seeking to understand risk-related behaviors. Journal of risk research, 15(2), 131-147.

Schwarz, N., Bless, H., Strack, F., Klumpp, G., Rittenauer-Schatka, H., & Simons, A. (1991). Ease of retrieval as information: Another look at the availability heuristic. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 195-202.

ter Huurne, E.F.J. (2008). Information seeking in a risky world. The theoretical and empirical development of fris: A framework of risk information seeking. . Doctoral thesis, University of Twente, Enschede.