Sunday, September 12, 2010

Availability Heuristic Example--What Parents Worry About

Statistics are a funny thing-the media coverage of them can skew our perceptions.  Today NPR posted a blog about worries parents should and should not have called, " 5 Worries Parents Should Drop, And 5 They Shouldn't.  The top five that parent should not worry about are kidnapping, school snipers, terrorists, drugs, and strangers.  

The blog describes why parents may focus upon these ideas--examples are more readily available in their minds than examples of things to worry about, car accidents, homicide (from people they know), abuse, suicide, and drowning.  The blogger made a great point--perhaps every media story about an event should give the relative occurrence of a specific event.   Reading the comments from the blog brought up some pertinent points. 

On a related note, perhaps coaches should give kids and parents the stats on becoming a pro player in their respective sports.  Dominance or excellence at the local level does not ensure an athlete (or student) becoming just as successful at the next level. 

Posted by Chuck Schallhorn

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