Traffic Deaths or Terrorism: Understanding the Power of Perception

Wired Magazine has an article on the most likely causes of death in the US which uses statistical analysis to show that one is 80 times more likely to die in a traffic accident than in a terrorist attack. Meanwhile, a recent poll shows that 59% of Americans expect another terrorist attack while the stats suggest they have more to fear from the flu.

I think this effectively demonstrates how people’s perceptions are different from factual reality. Somehow, politicians seem to understand this better than anyone else!

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2 Comments »

  1. Colin said

    I am sure you are a reader of Freakonomics. The whole concept that our gut feel is fundamentally flawed yet our actions are mostly on gut feel is fascinating to me.

    Anyhow, nice to ‘meet’ you and cool site that I subscribed to today.

    Colin

  2. Reynold said

    Thank you! Have you read Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘Blink’? This concept is described in much greater detail there. It’s a well-written and useful book. More details here:
    http://www.gladwell.com/blink/index.html

    Cheers,

    Reynold

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