psychology

As of the 23rd May 2022 this website is archived and will receive no further updates.

was produced by the Winton programme for the public understanding of risk based in the Statistical Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. The aim was to help improve the way that uncertainty and risk are discussed in society, and show how probability and statistics can be both useful and entertaining.

Many of the animations were produced using Flash and will no longer work.

Statistical significance, ESP and the law: what's all that about?

Statistical significance testing is one of the commonest formal ways of handling some kinds of uncertainty, but arguably it's one of the most misunderstood. We've posted a new article about statistical significance, in the context of some very controversial psychological experiments about extra-sensory perception (ESP).

Risk

Risk has been studied from a variety of perspectives, which can most easily be categorised as the psychological approaches to risk and the social scientific approaches to risk [link - to come]. Both traditions are concerned with finding out more about how people percieve and understand risk, and how they react towards it, though they differ in their interpretations of what risk actually is, and in their ideas of what if anything should be done about their insights to risk.

The psychology of risk

Psychology of Risk and the “public perception of risk” research

“A statement such as 'the annual risk from living near a nuclear power plant is equivalent to the risk of riding an extra 3 miles in an automobile' fails to consider how these two technologies differ on the many qualities that people believe to be important. As a result, such statements are likely to produce anger rather than enlightenment and they are not likely to be convincing in the face of criticism” (Slovic, p.271 Slovic2000)

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