Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cognitive Bias and Risk Control

We live in the real world. But it is not true that we always see the real world. Because there are a lot of cognitive biases.
Cognition of human has begun to be studied since late in 20th centuries and is one of hot topics in not only neuropsychiatry but also other region, such as marketing, politics, economy, and so on.
According to leading hypothesis, we tend to distort our thought in order to simplify the phenomenon we have seen. It is a result of evolution. However, sometimes a cognitive bias harms us.

For example we tend to make account of avoiding huge loss in front of us.

Last year Fukushima Daiichi atomic power plant was crippled by 3.11 earthquake and tsunami disaster. Not few people moved away from Fukushima prefecture to western region in Japan. But actually there was not so much risk of life by radioactivity except the area nearby the power plant. Rather the cost involved in evacuation and mental stress with moving were not ignorable. But when we hear the severe accident, we overestimate the influence of the matter.

In USA, similar problem occurred after 9.11 terrorism. Many people deemed airplane as dangerous and use land transportation instead of airline. The result is increasing traffic accident to death.

I have empathy to the people being afraid of the risk. However politic decision making has to be based on scientific evidence and overall optimization.

Many biases are around of us. We are to be aware of it, even if it is not avoidable completely.

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