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Sarah Jenkins

My research focuses on how risk and uncertainty information is communicated and the effect of this on a number of outcomes including understanding, decision-making, trust and risk perceptions. I have investigated risk and uncertainty communications across a variety of contexts, including natural hazards, food safety and medical domains.

I am currently working as a Research Associate with the UK Met Office on a project investigating impact-based forecasting and warnings in South East Asia. Using a variety of social science methods, I am specifically investigating the interpretation of these warnings by both forecasters and users, with the aim of developing ways to enhance their effectiveness.

My previous research includes a collaboration with the Food Standards Agency, investigating how the risk analysis process can be adapted to meet new challenges in food safety. Here, I explored the effects of how risks are characterised (i.e., qualitatively or quantitatively), including their impact on risk management decisions.

My PhD was an inter-disciplinary collaboration with the British Geological Survey, which investigated the effect of communication format (i.e., using verbal probability expressions ‘unlikely’, numerical formats ‘20%’ or mixed formats ‘unlikely (20%)’) on the understanding of uncertainty communications as well as examining format’s effects on the perceived credibility of a communicator.


  • Jenkins, S. C., Harris, A. J. L., & Lark, R. M. (2019). When unlikely outcomes occur: the role of communication format in maintaining communicator credibility. Journal of Risk Research, 22(5), 537-554.
  • Jenkins, S. C., Harris, A. J. L., & Lark, R. M. (2018). Understanding ‘unlikely (20% likelihood)’ or ‘20% likelihood (unlikely)’ outcomes: the robustness of the extremity effect. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 31(4), 572-586.
  • Jenkins, S. C., Harris, A. J. L., & Lark, R. M. (2017). Maintaining credibility when communicating uncertainty: The role of communication format. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.),Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 582-587). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • Jenkins, S. C., Stevelink, S. A., & Fear, N. T. (2017). Factors associated with poor self-reported health within the UK military and comparisons with the general population: a cohort study. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Open,8(5), 1–7.
  • Jenkins, S., Harris, A. J. L., & Lark, R. M. (2016). ‘Unlikely’ outcomes might never occur, but what about ‘unlikely (20% chance)’ outcomes? In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. C. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 390-395). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • Stevelink, S. A. M., Malcolm, E. M., Mason, C., Jenkins, S., Sundin, J., & Fear, N. T. (2015). The prevalence of mental health disorders in (ex-) military personnel with a physical impairment: a systematic review. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 72(4), 243-251.


Contact details

Room 201
26 Bedford Way
London WC1H 0AP

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