In current work, the phenomenon of NIMBY (not in my back yard) for a municipal solid waste incinerator was recognized through an investigation for the evolution of individual risk attitude to group risk attitude (ItGRA). The cellular automaton model was employed to evaluate the risk attitude status with different frequencies of social interaction between residents. In the simulation case, the risk attitude of residents in the pseudo-rational state and non-pseudo-rational state was evaluated, which indicates the sheep-flock effect on the exaggeration of public NIMBY attitude. To the incinerator, the individual risk attitude evolved to supportive group risk attitude at a social interaction frequency 100 times higher than that in family or local neighborhoods, when the initial number of residents in opposition and support was equal. This was supported by the result of the model in the evaluation of resident risk attitude around the incinerator in Shanghai. On the contrary, for those in a non-pseudo-rational state, the ultimate group risk attitude depends on the probability that the residents have a supportive or opposing risk attitude as the concept of individuals was difficult to change. Accordingly, the decision strategy of incinerator construction should consider the influence of the sheep-flock effect, which can increase the attitude of residents in support and lead to the evolution of a group risk attitude to support attitude. Therefore, this study provides insight into the evolution of public attitude to NIMBY attitude and a promising evaluation method to quantify and guide the individual and group risk attitudes.
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