How Risky Is It, Really?: Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts / Edition 1
  • How Risky Is It, Really?: Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts / Edition 1
  • How Risky Is It, Really?: Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts / Edition 1

How Risky Is It, Really?: Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts / Edition 1

by David Ropeik
     
 

Do you worry more about radiation from nuclear power or from the sun?

Are you more afraid of getting cancer than heart disease?

Do you think global warming is a serious threat to your health?

International risk expert David Ropeik gives you an in-depth look at our perceptions of risk and explains the hidden factors that make us unnecessarily afraid of

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Overview

Do you worry more about radiation from nuclear power or from the sun?

Are you more afraid of getting cancer than heart disease?

Do you think global warming is a serious threat to your health?

International risk expert David Ropeik gives you an in-depth look at our perceptions of risk and explains the hidden factors that make us unnecessarily afraid of relatively small threats and not afraid enough of the bigger ones. This book brings the danger of the Perception Gap into focus-when our fears don't match the facts, we make choices that create additional risks. This book will not decide for you what is really risky and what isn't. That's up to you. Instead, How Risky Is It, Really? tells you how you make those decisions. Understanding how we perceive risk is the first step toward making wiser and healthier choices for ourselves and for society as a whole.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780071629690
Publisher:
McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date:
02/08/2010
Edition description:
List
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
494,228
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

Chapter 1 This is your Brain on Fear 1

The Amygdala to the Rescue: Hard-Wired to Fear First and Think Second 2

The Fear Response Continues 7

Built-in Fears 14

Chapter 2 Bounded Rationality: Because reason alone can't keep you safe 21

Mental Shortcuts for Making Decisions 23

The Framing Effect 26

Categorization: The Representativeness Effect 32

Loss Aversion 40

Anchoring and Adjustment 45

The Awareness/Ready Recall Effect 48

Innumeracy 52

Optimism Bias 56

Chapters 3 Fear factors: Why some threats feel scarier than Others 65

Principles behind Risk Perception Factors 68

Risk Perception Factor 1 Trust 70

Risk Perception Factor 2 Risk versus Benefit 81

Risk Perception Factor 3 Control 85

Risk Perception Factor 4 Choice 89

Risk Perception Factor 5 Is the Risk Natural or Human-Made? 92

Risk Perception Factor 6 Pain and Suffering 96

Risk Perception Factor 7 Uncertainty 99

Risk Perception Factor 8 Catastrophic or Chronic 105

Risk Perception Factor 9 Can It Happen to Me? 109

Risk Perception Factor 10 Is the Risk New or Familiar? 114

Risk Perception Factor 11 Risks to Children 119

Risk Perception Factor 12 Personification 126

Risk Perception Factor 13 Fairness 130

Risk Perception Factors Redux 132

Chapter 4 The wisdom or the madness of the crowd? 135

A Conversation about Climate Change 135

Cultural Cognition 142

Chicken Little, Pollyanna, and Other Social Forces 156

And That's the Way It Is 166

Chapter 5 Closing the Perception gap 187

The Risk of Getting Risk "Wrong" as individuals 187

The Risk of Getting Risk "Wrong" as a Society 198

Toward Healthier Individual Choices 214

Toward Healthier Choices as a Society 237

Closing Thoughts 259

Endnotes 263

Index 271

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