Gulbanu Kaptan

Lecturer in Behavioural Decision Making, Management Division

+44 (0) 113 343 8563
Academic, Management, Centre for Decision Research (CDR), Staff, Research Centres, Divisions
1.18 Charles Thackrah


PhD Business Administration, Bilkent University (Turkey)
MBA Baskent University (Turkey)
MSc Food Engineering, Middle East Technical University (Turkey)
BSc Food Engineering, Middle East Technical University (Turkey)


My research interests focus on judgment and decision making, with particular interests in food-related risk (benefit) perception and communication, and social value foundations of risk.

After some years in applied work as a food engineer, I resumed my studies, acquiring an M.B.A. and Ph.D. in Business Administration, focused on decision, risk, and operations management.  My Ph.D. thesis includes a theoretical analysis that links risk beliefs and attitudes to social factors.  It involves a cross-cultural study in Turkey and Israel that examines the relationships between human values and risk perceptions.  I conducted the study as an exchange Ph.D. student in the Psychology Department of Tel Aviv University (Israel).  This work was supported by research grants from Bilkent University Business School (Turkey) and Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University.

After completing my Ph.D., I was awarded an EU-FP7 Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship for Career Development.  This 3-year fellowship gives European researchers the opportunity to be trained and acquire new knowledge at a high-level research organization in a third country, then return with this experience to a research organization in the E.U.  I completed the first two years in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University (US), and the last year at the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University. I applied the mental models methodology to identifying the critical gaps between lay and expert knowledge, providing a basis for developing and evaluating risk communications, with a focus on food safety.  I also worked as an external reviewer for National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine's draft report by the Committee on “Review of Food and Drug Administration’s Role in Ensuring Safe Food.”


I have an academic interest in judgment and decision making, with special interest in food-related risk perception, communication, and analysis, drawing on my expertise in analytical and empirical research, and my experience in applied and basic research setting.  I am also interested in values and cross-cultural comparisons.

How people react to scientific evidence of risk is mediated by many factors, including how risk information is perceived and communicated, how we react to social and cultural influences, and how choices are structured. Examples abound of situations where individuals’ risk perceptions lead them to act in ways that appear contrary to their own interests, seeminglyunder- or overreacting to risks. I am interested in how such situations can be identified, and what can be done to mitigate adverse effects (Kaptan, Fischer, Frewer, under review).

Examples of my work also include studies seeking to translate behavioral science research into terms compatible with work of the professional food safety community (Kaptan & Fischhoff, 2010; 2011; under review), and theoretical analysis linking risk beliefs and attitudes to social factors (Kaptan, Shiloh & Onkal, 2013).

I believe that interdisciplinary collaboration is essential to establish effective communication between the experts and public that enhances mutual learning and respect about existing and emerging real-world problems.  I look forward to future interdisciplinary research, in which I can extend basic behavioral decision science, in the context of making contributions to important applied problems, especially food-related consumer decisions.


Undergraduate teaching:
LUBS1785 Introduction to Effective Decision Making (Module Leader)
LUBS2765 Advanced Management Decision Making (Module Leader)
LUBS3885 Management Decision Making (Team member)

Postgraduate teaching: 
LUBS5582 Research Methods (Module Leader) 
LUBS5202 Risk Perception and Communication (Team member)


Lecturer in Behavioural Decision Making

Co-director of the ESRC FOOD seminar series



Kendall H., Kaptan G., Stewart, G., Grainger, M., Kuznesof S., Naughton, P., Hubbard C., Raley M., Marvin H. J., & Frewer, L.J. (In press). Drivers of existing and emerging food safety risks: Expert opinion regarding multiple impacts. Food Control.

Kaptan G., Fischer A.R.H., & Frewer L.J. (2017) Extrapolating understanding of food risk perceptions to emerging food safety cases. Journal of Risk Research, Epub ahead of print. URL:

Frewer L.J, Coles D, Dijkstra A.M., Kuznesof S., Kendall H., & Kaptan G. (2016). Synthetic biology applied in the agrifood sector: societal priorities and pitfalls. Applied Studies in Agribusiness and Commerce – APSTRACT, 10 (2-3), 89-96. 

Frewer L.J., Fischer A.R.H., Kaptan, G. (2016). Consumer perceptions of risks from food. In H. Lelieveld, I.T. Mosterts & J. Holah (Eds.). Handbook of hygiene control in the food industry. Abington, Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing Ltd. 

George S., Kaptan G., Lee J., & Frewer L.J. (2014). Awareness on adverse effects of nanotechnology increases negative perception among public: Survey study from Singapore. Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 16, 1-11. 

Kaptan, G., Shiloh, S., & Önkal, D. (2013).  Values and risk perceptions: A cross-cultural examination. Risk Analysis, 33, 318-332. 

Kaptan, G., & Fischhoff, B. (2011). Diagnosing foodborne illness: A behavioral analysis of barriers to testing. Journal of Public Health Policy, 32, 60-72.  

Kaptan, G., & Fischhoff, B. (2010). Sticky decisions: Peanut butter in a time of Salmonella. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 16, 900-904. 

reprinted in Baruch Fischhoff, Risk Analysis and Human Behavior (pp 351-359). New York: Routledge/Earthscan. 

Shiloh, S., Güvenç, G., & Önkal, D. (2007).  Cognitive and emotional representations of terror attacks: A cross-cultural exploration.  Risk Analysis, 27, 397-409.  

Güvenç, G., & Önkal, D. (2004). Perception of diabetes: The Turkish case.  Psychology and Health, 19, 70S. 

Thomson, M.E., Önkal, D., & Güvenç, G. (2003).  A cognitive portrayal of risk perceptions in Turkey: Some cross-national comparisons.  Risk Management: An International Journal, 5 (4), 25-35.  

Manuscript under revision:

Perkovic, S., Bown, N., & Kaptan G. Systematicity of Search Index: A New Measure for Exploring Information Search Patterns. Manuscript under revision.

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