One of the things that baffles me about people is how they completely misunderstand risk. Lots of my friends panic about things that have no real chance of killing them, but ignore the things that will. This can lead us to make irrational decisions, and sometimes irrational policy. What really will kill us? Watch and learn.

What Kills Us? How We Understand Risk.

Category: Bad Math, Psychology, Science, Video

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

6 Responses to “How We Understand Risk: What Kills Us”

  1. supercorm says:

    Great video … nothing like putting things in another, and proper, perspective.

    I like his Mr Potato Head in the background !

  2. MarkKlose says:

    It’s not clear to me from the video’s description if the expectation of infant death or injury is based solely on crash data. There are certainly times when severe turbulence can lead to rather violent moves by the aircraft. Last month there was a United flight from Denver to Billings where a woman flew out of her seat with a velocity that her head cracked open the panel above her. Several crew & passengers were hospitalized with injuries. These incidents are much more frequent than crashes. That doesn’t mean that the basic point is wrong or that incidents other than crashes were not considered. Just can’t tell from the video.

  3. yoigloo says:

    ^ Recency bias

  4. Ramstone says:

    Boils down to lizard brain thinking – or at best a degree removed from it. Recency effect , OMG effect (e.g. breast cancer is most prevalent among women in age 80+, despite what they think) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2047017/ , etc. We don’t “Equal weight” our anxieties about cardiac arrest, diabetes-2, just as our ancestors probably worried more about being shot than dying of dysentery.

    But on the bright side, with the ascent of Kahneman et al there’s probably a LOT more recognition of the biases among some of us, even if it manifests itself in an intuitive way. I think more mom-and-pops moving toward index-based investing may be part of this.

  5. Captain Nitpick says:

    How many people I know who obsess about feeding their kids organic food from BPA-free dish ware but who don’t think twice about driving a baby around to put it asleep, while they talk with their friends on the cell phone.

  6. [...] to Barry Ritholtz for sharing this video on how we (fail to) understand risk in the context of health care policy. It [...]