William J. Burns

Research Area Co-Leader for Risk Perception and Communication

Dr. William Burns is currently a Research Scientist at Decision Research (Eugene, OR), an institute that focuses on judgment, decision making and risk perception and is a Research Fellow at CREATE.

Dr. Burns completed his Ph.D. at the University of Oregon in Decision Science and subsequently held positions as a professor at the University of Iowa and UC Davis before moving to San Diego. He is currently a research scientist at Decision Research (Eugene, OR), an institute that focuses on judgment, decision making and risk perception.  As a CREATE  Research Fellow he contributes to the risk assessment, risk perception and economic impact research. He is also a part-time faculty member at California State University San Marcos, a minority serving institution, where he teaches statistics and has been a faculty advisor on over sixty student-consulting projects. His work has been funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National

Science Foundation. Research and interviews related to the public’s response to the different crises have appeared in academic journals such as Management Science, Risk Analysis and Journal of Applied Communication Research and media such as The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post and National Public Radio. He has been the guest editor for a special issue in Risk Analysis entitled “Risk Perception and Behaviors: Anticipating and Responding to Crises”. He has also given keynote addresses at the International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference and the IEEE Intelligence Security Informatics Annual Conference.

Recently he spent three summers working in Washington D.C. at the TSA on a Department of Homeland Security University Faculty Fellowship. Work with the TSA has focused on modeling adaptive threats to commercial aviation. More generally, investigations over the near future focus on: 1) understanding the social psychology behind enhancing public resilience and demotivating terrorists and 2) developing a new generation of research focused on a dynamic rather than a static portrayal of risk perception, risk-related behavior, and policy preference.