Risk perception influenced less by media than previously thought

Thorsten Pachur has disproved a decades-old assumption about risk perception.
Thorsten Pachur has disproved a decades-old assumption about risk perception.




For decades, researchers have assumed that people overestimate the risk of dramatic causes of death, such as road traffic accidents. The reason given for this was that such deaths are the subject of far greater media attention than more significant but less spectacular mortality risks. However, a study at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now debunked this assumption. Although dramatic causes of death receive disproportionate media attention, deaths in the personal environment are more important for the risk perception.

From road traffic accidents to fires and murders, dramatic causes of death receive considerable media attention. ...
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