Fear of Flying – Frightening Yourself to Death

Interesting comment from Capt. Tom Bunn at SOAR about how fear of flying can be deadly.

Garrick Blalock, Vrinda Kadiyali, and Daniel H. Simon researched public reaction to the terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001. For abstract of their research, see http://dyson.cornell.edu/…p/fatalities_120505.pdf) They found public response to ‘Sept. 11’ caused more fatalities than the attack. Highway fatalities increased significantly after the event because travelers substituted road transportation for safer air transportation. The result was addtional 344 deaths per month in late 2001. By the time they reported on their findings, they found that switching from flying to driving had caused additional 2,170 deaths.

They attribute public thinking that driving is safer to what researcher Cass Sunstein calls the “badness effect” and “probability neglect.” “Probability neglect” means actual probability has almost no bearing on the public’s feeling about safety. Instead, Sunstein wrote, “When strong emotions are involved, people tend to focus on the badness of outcome, rather than on the probability that the outcome will occur.”



~ by Garry on April 7, 2012.

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