Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Risk and What We Know

People are lousy at evaluating risk. I've been reading a neat site called STATS that examines how statsitics shape the world and it especially focuses on media representations of risk, health, and research.

Sometimes, what people know is either wrong, or wrongheaded.

To help people evaluate health risks, the site has this list of questions people should ask about research or news stories based on research. Quite useful. And often we just get the odds wrong. One of their people wrote this piece for Psychology Today. I love the one where we tend to fear "spectacular, unlikely events" and how we substitute one risk for another, such as speeding up when we put on our seat belts. And finally my favorite, how worrying about risk is itself risky.

Me? No worries.

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