Statistical illiteracy can have an enormously negative impact on decision making. This volume of collected papers brings together applied and theoretical research on risks and decision making across the fields of medicine, psychology, and economics. Collectively, the essays demonstrate why the frame in which statistics are communicated is essential for broader understanding and sound decision making, and that understanding risks and uncertainty has wide-reaching implications for daily life. Gerd Gigerenzer provides a lucid review and catalog of concrete instances of heuristics, or rules of thumb, that people and animals rely on to make decisions under uncertainty, explaining why these are very often more rational than probability models. After a critical look at behavioral theories that do not model actual psychological processes, the book concludes with a call for a "heuristic revolution" that will enable us to understand the ecological rationality of both statistics and heuristics, and bring a dose of sanity to the study of rationality.
Introduction ; 1. How I Got Started Teaching Physicians and Judges Risk Literacy ; Part I. The Art of Risk Communication ; 2. Why Do Single Event Probabilities Confuse Patients? ; 3. HIV Screening: Helping Clinicians Make Sense of Test Results ; 4. Breast Cancer Screening Pamphlets Mislead Women ; Part II. Health Statistics ; 5. Helping Doctors and Patients Make Sense of Health Statistics ; 6. Public Knowledge of Benefits of Breast and Prostate Cancer Screening in Europe ; Part III. Smart Heuristics ; 7. Heuristic Decision Making ; 8. The Recognition Heuristic: A Decade of Research ; Part IV. Intuitions about Sports and Gender ; 9. The Hot Hand Exists in Volleyball and Is Used for Allocation Decisions ; 10. Stereotypes about Men's and Women's Intuitions: A Study of Two Nations ; Part V. Theory ; 11. As-If Behavioral Economics: Neoclassical Economics in Disguise? ; 12. Personal Reflections on Theory and Psychology ; References ; Index