Unformatted text preview: r upward
trend in baseline confidence in government as the time horizon of interest grows (see Figure 8).
This is interpreted as evidence that this group has a definitive belief that the government will be
willing and able to put in place the necessary actions to prevent future terrorist attacks. If the
relative mix of the general population in a country has a high percentage of optimists, as
identified by means c in Figures 2 and 3, the likelihood of success in government action will grow
and the possibility of experiencing the desired outcomes will increase. Interestingly, as our model
allows us to infer, if desired outcomes are experienced, these outcomes will be perceived, 16 remembered, and expected, influencing higher levels of trust, confidence, and public’s
assessment of government’s trustworthiness that will reinforce the compliance tendency of the
population: a virtuous cycle of government-population participation.
The last combination depicted in Table 1, the high-trust/low-confidence scenario, presents the
possibility of generating mid-levels in the public’s opinion of the government’s trustworthiness,
leading to mixed responses in behavior after a request/mandate from the government is issued in
response to, or to prevent, a critical event.
Mixed behavioral response from the public will most likely harm the outcomes experienced;
however, if there is a critical mass of individuals who are thinking about alternative behaviors
more suitable for the situation at hand, it could generate a creative thrust that might create
benefits (Cook et al., 2005b). In general, mixed behavioral response is not desired. Governments
seek to induce homogenous responses from the public that are aligned with their designed
solutions for problems and critical situations. However, although the presence of skeptics in the
general population makes it harder to implement government initiatives, it has been argued that it
also forces the government to design truly adequate solutions and promot...
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