fredag 3 april 2009

Availibility heuristic

Joshua D. Foster skriver i Psychology Today-bloggen om availibility heuristic - alltså tendensen att värdera risker efter hur högt i minneskön något ligger ("how easily an example can be brought to mind"):

Although there are many problems associated with the availability heuristic, perhaps the most concerning one is that it often leads people to lose sight of life's real dangers. Psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer, for example, conducted a fascinating study that showed in the months following September 11, 2001, Americans were less likely to travel by air and more likely to instead travel by car. While it is understandable why Americans would have been fearful of air travel following the incredibly high profile attacks on New York and Washington, the unfortunate result is that Americans died on the highways at alarming rates following 9/11. This is because highway travel is far more dangerous than air travel. More than 40,000 Americans are killed every year on America's roads. Fewer than 1,000 people die in airplane accidents, and even fewer people are killed aboard commercial airlines. The bottom line is that being a passenger on a plane being flown by trained professionals who are being guided by a team of professionals (i.e., air traffic control) is much safer than driving your own car on streets surrounded by other amateur drivers who may or may not follow the rules of the road (and whose cars may or may not be fit to drive).
Consider, for example, that the 2009 budget for homeland security (the folks that protect us from terrorists) will likely be about $50 billion. Don't get us wrong, we like the fact that people are trying to prevent terrorism, but even at its absolute worst, terrorists killed about 3,000 Americans in a single year. And less than 100 Americans are killed by terrorists in most years. By contrast, the budget for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (the folks who protect us on the road) is about $1 billion, even though more than 40,000 people will die this year on the nation's roads. In terms of dollars spent per fatality, we fund terrorism prevention at about $17,000,000/fatality (i.e., $50 billion/3,000 fatalities) and accident prevention at about $25,000/fatality (i.e., $1 billion/40,000 fatalities). This huge imbalance tells us that our priorities are seriously out of whack. (And don't even get us started on bigger killers like heart disease!)

Larm och påföljande panikåtgärder är ett av den här bloggens centralämnen, men några inlägg gällande riskvärdering:
- Flygbolag slopar flytvästar för att spara bränsle
Värdet av ett människoliv
Arbetsmiljöverket, Wanja och Littorin om arbetsskador
FRA mot bin Ladin

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