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How Risky Is It, Really?


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Table of Contents

Chapter One - This is Your Brain on Fear: The Neuroscience of The Risk Response
Amygdala to the Rescue
The Fear Response Continues
Built-in Fears
Chapter Two - Bounded Rationality: Reason Alone Can't Keep You Safe <
Reasoning by Instinct
The Framing Effect
Categorization - The Representativeness Effect
Loss Aversion
Anchoring and Adjustment
The Ready Recall/Awareness Effect
Optimism Bias
Chapter Three - Fear Factors: Why Some Threats Feel Scarier Than Others
Risk Perception Factors
Risk versus Benefit
Natural versus Human-Made
Pain and Suffering
Catastrophic or Chronic
Can It Happen to Me?
New or Familiar Risk
Risk to Children
Chapter Four -The Wisdom, or The Madness, of The Crowds?
A Conversation About Climate Change
Cultural Cognition
Chicken Little, Polyanna, and Other Social Forces
And That's The Way It Is
Chapter Five - Closing The Perception Gap
The Risk of Getting Risk "Wrong", As Individuals
The Risk of Getting Risk "Wrong", As a Society
Toward Healthy Individual Choices
Toward Healthy Choices as A Society
End Notes

About the Author

David Ropeik is an international consultant and widely sought-after public speaker on risk perception and risk communication. Ropeik is an instructor at the Harvard University Extension School's Environmental Management Program and taught risk perception and risk communication at Harvard School of Public Heath (2000-2006). He was a commentator on risk for NPR Morning Edition program and has been a guest host for NPR's "The Connection." He has written articles about risk perception for The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, LA Times, and The Boston Globe, and Nova among others.

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