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The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn't--And Put Ourselves in Greater Dangerby Dan Gardner
Synopses & Reviews
From terror attacks to the war on terror, real estate bubbles to the price of oil, sexual predators to poisoned food from China, our list of fears is ever-growing. And yet, we are the safest and healthiest humans in history. Irrational fear seems to be taking over, often with tragic results. For example, in the months after 9/11, when people decided to drive instead of flyÂ—believing they were avoiding riskÂ—road deaths rose by more than 1,500.
In this fascinating, lucid, and thoroughly entertaining examination of how humans process risk, journalist Dan Gardner had the exclusive cooperation of Paul Slovic, the world renowned risk-science pioneer, as he reveals how our hunter gatherer brains struggle to make sense of a world utterly unlike the one that made them. Filled with illuminating real world examples, interviews with experts, and fast-paced, lean storytelling, The Science of Fear shows why it is truer than ever that the worst thing we have to fear is fear itself.
"Gardner, a columnist and senior writer for the Ottawa Citizen, is both matter-of-fact and entertaining in this look at fear and how it shapes our lives. Although we are capable of reason, says Gardner, we often rely instead on intuitive snap judgments. We also assume instinctively, but incorrectly, that '[i]f examples of something can be recalled easily, that thing must be common.' And what is more memorable than headlines and news programs blaring horrible crimes and diseases, plane crashes and terrorist attacks? In fact, such events are rare, but their media omnipresence activates a gut-level fear response that is out of proportion to the likelihood of our going through such an event. It doesn't help that scientific data and statistics are often misunderstood and misused and that our risk assessment is influenced less by the facts than by how others respond. Gardner's vivid, direct style, backed up by clear examples and solid data from science and psychology, brings a breath of fresh air and common sense to an emotional topic. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A timely and entertaining psychological look at why we're afraid and what to do about it
From terror attacks to bursting real estate bubbles, from crystal meth epidemics to online sexual predators and poisonous toys from China, our list of fears seems to be exploding. Yet we are the safest and healthiest humans in history. Why are we so worried?
The Science of Fear is an introduction to the new brain science of risk, dissecting the fears that misguide and manipulate us every day. Award-winning journalist Daniel Gardner demonstrates how irrational fear springs from the ways humans miscalculate risks based on our hunter-gatherer brains. With the exclusive cooperation of risk-science pioneer Paul Slovic and other leading experts, Gardner reveals how our "gut" reactions lead us astray. Understanding our irrational fears frees us from political and corporate manipulation, and makes our choices better, and our lives braver.
About the Author
Daniel Gardner is a columnist and senior writer for The Ottawa Citizen . He has received numerous awards for his writing, including Amnesty Internationa‛s Media Award and the Michener Award.
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