Availability, Emotion and Risk


. Believe that they use something

. People are less confident in their choice when they are asked to produce further arguments to support it

. People are less confident that an event was avoidable after listing more ways it could have been avoided

. People are less impressed about something after listing many of its advantages

. The proof that you truly understand a pattern of behaviour is that you know how to reverse it!!!!!

. People sometimes rely more on content rather than by ease of retrieval.

. Routine approach of the brain has the ability to set expectations and to be surprised when these expectations are violated. It will retrieve possible causes of a surprise, usually by finding a plausible cause among recent surprises.

. Most impacted by the ease of retrieval than the content they retrieve when:

- they are engaged in another effortful task at the same time

- when they are in a good mood

- when they score low on a depression scale

- they are knowledgeable novices on the topic of the task, in contrast to true experts

- they score high on a scale of faith in intuition if they are, or made to feel, powerful

Availability, emotion and risk

. As memory of a disaster dims over time, so does worry and diligence; with thus there is growing complacency about the occurrence of another disaster. Also preventative measures are based on the worst disaster actually experienced.

. Unusual events attract disproportionate attention and are consequently perceived as less usual than they really are, ie

"...The world in our heads is not a precise replica of reality; our expectations about the frequency of events are distorted by the relevance and emotional intensity of the messages to which we are exposed..."

Daniel Kahneman 2012

. People make judgements and decisions by consulting their emotions, ie do I like it? Do I hate it? How strongly do I feel about it?, ie decision-making

"...people form opinions that directly express their feelings and their basic tendency to approach for or avoid, often without knowing they are doing so.....people's emotional evaluations of outcomes, and the bodily states and the approach and avoidance tendencies they are satiated with, all play a central role in guiding decision-making..."

Daniel Kahneman 2012

"...the emotional tail wags the irrational dog..."

Jonathan Haidt as quoted by Daniel Kahneman 2012

"... Simplifies our lives by creating a world that is much tidier than reality...... All decisions are easy. In the real world, of course, we often face painful trade-offs between benefits and costs..."

Daniel Kahneman 2012

"...a picture of Mr and Mrs Citizen......guided by emotion rather than by reason, easily swayed by trivial details, and innately sensitive to differences between low and negligibly low probabilities..."

Daniel Kahneman 2012

. Experts show the same biases as the rest of us but in an accentuated form; it can reflect a difference in values, eg experts can measure risk by the number of deaths while the public draws a fine distinction between "good" and "bad" deaths, etc. Thus risk and its measurement can be thought of as subjective. How we deal with small risks, ie we either ignore them or give them too much credibility. The amount of concern is not adequately sensitive to the probability of harm. There can be gross exaggeration of minor threats, often with important consequences.

"...our minds are strongly biased toward causal explanations and do not deal well with mere statistics. When our attention is called to an event, associative memory will look for its cause - more precisely, activation will automatically spread to any cause that is already stored in the memory..."

Daniel Kahneman 2012

"...Our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance..."

Daniel Kahneman 2012

"...A general limitation of the human mind is its imperfect ability to reconstruct past states of knowledge, or beliefs that have changed. Once you adopt the new view of the world...... You are immediately losing much of your ability to recall what you used to believe before your mind changed..."

Daniel Kahneman 2012


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