Learning about a human’s way to react to a situation that one would consider to be “risky” really defines who we are as a species. We make decisions based on a vast amount of considerations, and each one of these vital considerations can place a strong impact on the end choice. It only takes something as simple as word phrasing to change the overwhelming majority’s stand on any given opinion. Because of this persuasion, are humans able to determine if something is risky?
Let’s try and remember the risk assessment exercise taken in class among our peers. After given the option to either save 200 out of 600 people, or risk losing the whole population (with a one-third chance of saving all 600 people), we learned that the way the words were phrased changed the decision of the majority of the class. Recall the change in phrasing, and why the front of the class had a majority pick of option A, while the back of the class had a majority pick of option B. This change in data among the class was all by the alternate phrasing of each option. Of course, this data represents an actual theory based on the unusual Asian Disease. But since this data is true, what does it mean for communication in health?
If something as small as phrasing can fine tune the majority vote for a large population, how are we able to decide what is rational and what is decided to be a risk? Let’s take a more personal approach to making risky decisions. We need to take a step back and process the information given to us and think about it from all sides of the spectrum. Healthy communication requires taking a look at what situation is given to us, and determining every possible outcome that can come from each decision that is made. If we refer to the risk assessment exercise, we realize that when 200 people are saved, 400 people die. It is risky to think that 400 people will die when there is a one-third chance of saving all 600 people. But, when 200 people are guaranteed to be saved, a two-thirds chance of 600 people dying sounds worse than assuring that 200 people will stay alive. We need to take into account both sides of analysis in order to confirm the risk that is being taken. But if we’re not able to look past a single phrase, can we take a risk?
Something to think about,
Link to Asian Disease power point Notes: