Monthly Archive for February, 2008

Psychology of risk

Interesting article I just read, linked from Bruce Schneier’s blog (one of my favourite morning reads), about how irrational people are about judging and comparing risk. People often overestimate one risk, and underestimate another, and end up making poor choices.

An example from the article: after 9/11, people became irrationally afraid of flying. They cancelled flights, and drove their cars instead. As everybody knows (but somehow manage to ignore), driving is statistically much more dangerous than flying. Predictably, in a short period following 9/11, approximately 1000 more Americans died in car accidents than in the same period a year before.

I don’t imagine Bin Laden planned on that, but he can’t be too upset about it either.

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