There was a great article published last month discussing risk communication.
Statistician Regina Nuzzo is quoted as saying
Human brains hate probability, they hate ambiguity, they hate the uncertainty. We’re just not wired to deal with this sort of thing very well.
Science journalist Tara Haelle explains that it’s difficult to separate reporting from influence. She notes that covering polls about willingness to take a vaccine set behavioural norms.
The more people question vaccines, the more people question vaccines. Vaccine hesitancy is contagious.
So, in summary, we find it difficult to think about probabilities, but are easily lead by opinion. This is why it’s increasingly essential for everyone to develop a degree of statistical literacy. With so much data flying around, and so many people commandeering it to promote their own view, we all need to be able to come to our own informed conclusions.
Photo by Naser Tamimi on Unsplash