Behavioral Science Research 2020 Vol.58, No.2, 59-67.
Behavioral Science of Earthquake Early Warnings
Earthquakes can cause immense damage to property and human life. The earthquake early warning （EEW）system can provide a potentially life-saving amount of warning time for an imminent strong earthquake. Despite significant evidence of the utility of EEW for technical applications, there are limited reports on the effectiveness of EEW for personal protection. This article discusses the effectiveness of EEW in Japan based on experiences of residents who received warnings before earthquake shaking occurred. Results of surveys from Nakayachi and colleagues（2019）indicate the following.（a）Residents' primary reactions to the EEW were mental, not physical, and thus, motionless. Most residents stayed sti11, not for safety reasons, but because they were focusing on mentally bracing themselves. （b）Residents perceived the EEW to be effective because it enabled them to mentally prepare, rather than take physical protective actions, before strong shaking arrived. These findings show the need for the development of a new research area, the behavioral science of EEW, to promote residents’ physical reactions to EEWs to protect their lives. Finally, research questions and challenges regarding the behavioral sciences of EEW are discussed.