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Plenary: Gerd Gigerenzer - Risk Literacy: The Cement of Society

Gerd Gigerenzer, Harding Center for Risk Literacy, Max Planck Institute for Human Development

Why do we fear what most likely doesn’t kill us? 

How do you decide if an activity is too risky? How do you know how risky some of your actions are? In the 12 months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US, many Americans avoided flying, choosing to drive instead. But as a result of this increased time on the roads, and especially for long-distrance travel, about 1,600 more people died in crashes on US roads.

This is but one of the many compelling stories that Gerd Gigerenzer, Director of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, shares about the importance of understanding risk to inform better decisions. In his plenary speech, “Risk Literacy: The Cement of Society,” he shows why we need to be more risk literate and understand the distinction between risk and uncertainty in finance, health, and digital media. 

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