N. C. Silver, Kenneth Tubilleja, Rozana Ferrante
Oct 1, 1995
Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting
The current standards recommend using signal words such as DANGER, WARNING, and CAUTION to connote varying degrees of hazard. Most research concerning the connoted strength of signal words has used college students as participants. One at-risk population that has not been adequately studied, however, includes people with developmental disabilities. The purpose of the present research was to determine whether people with developmental disabilities understand these signal words. Moreover, connotation comparisons would be made concerning other populations sampled from previous research. A sample of 46 people with developmental disabilities rated 43 potential signal words on how careful they would be after seeing each term. In general, the ratings of the developmentally disabled were consistent with populations sampled from previous research. The words that were frequently left blank by the developmentally disabled were used less frequently in the English language and were higher in grade level. The forensic implications and relevance concerning hazard communication are discussed.