I'm an Instructor at Harvard, a consultant in risk perception and risk communication, author of How Risky Is it, Really? Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts, and principal co-author of RISK, A Practical Guide for Deciding What's Really Safe and What's Really Dangerous in the World Around You. I run a program called Improving Media Coverage of Risk. I was the Director of Risk Communication at the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, part of the Harvard School of Public Health, for 4 years, prior to which I was a TV reporter, specializing in environmental issues, for a local station in Boston for 22 years.
We over-worry about terrorism when the latest attack makes news, and grow complacent when the headlines fade, and both our excessive and insufficient fears create risks all by themselves.
We are far more worried about the problem of parents not vaccinating their kids than low general vaccination rates for flu, which will sicken and kill way more of us, including WAY more kids.
Yet another analysis of the dangers of mercury feeds fears that aren't supported by solid evidence. Fanning false fears hurts people.
Advocates masquerading as scientists to try and establish credibility for biased claims do the public, and science, serious harm. And journalists who fail to call them out and report biased studies as fact...
Which team you support tells others about your background and where your history lies. And the superstitions we obey in support of our team are a classic example of tribal loyalty.
An unfamiliar new threat that harms babies, that we can't protect ourselves from, that experts don't fully understand, and about which the media is blaring loud alarms; Zika virus has several powerful emotional...
Super Bowl season illustrates a deep part of who we are, not just as sports fans.
The Campbell Soup Company says it will go ahead and label foods that contain GMO ingredients, breaking industry ranks on the issue holding up wider adoption of agricultural biotechnology.
The battle over gun control is really about fear.
Living longer, but worrying more. Why?