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© POSbase 2004 1 Frequency estimates of lethal events The study of Lichtenstein et al. (1978):Lichtenstein et al. (1978): Many people are afraid of becoming.

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Presentation on theme: "© POSbase 2004 1 Frequency estimates of lethal events The study of Lichtenstein et al. (1978):Lichtenstein et al. (1978): Many people are afraid of becoming."— Presentation transcript:

1 © POSbase Frequency estimates of lethal events The study of Lichtenstein et al. (1978):Lichtenstein et al. (1978): Many people are afraid of becoming a victim of a crime, maybe more than is justified by official crime statistics. One possibility is that more crimes are committed than revealed in official statistics. An alternative possibility is that people overestimate the prevalence of violent crime because these are exhaustively covered and sensationalized by the media.

2 © POSbase Frequency estimates of lethal events Due to high media coverage, violent crimes become more available in memory, and their frequency is thus overestimated.available Lichtenstein et al. examined this assumption in a study about judging the frequency of lethal events.

3 © POSbase Frequency estimates of lethal events The authors chose 41 causes of death that varied widely in frequency. It is very uncommon to die from botulism, whereas stroke is one of the more frequent causes of death. Some causes were natural, for example, stomach cancer, whereas others were unnatural, such as homicide. The authors predicted that unnatural causes with high media coverage were judged to be more frequent than quiet killers like stomach cancer.

4 © POSbase Frequency estimates of lethal events Their findings matched their predictions: Although stomach cancer is more than five times more frequent than homicide, participants estimated that homicide is about 1.6 times more frequent than stomach cancer. Moreover, media coverage was high for homicides, but zero for stomach cancer, and media coverage predicted the frequency estimates of causes of death.

5 © POSbase Frequency estimates of lethal events The authors concluded that estimates of frequency of lethal events are based on high availability of vivid or sensational events. Indeed, among the most overestimated causes were sensational events like tornado, flood, homicide, and motor vehicle accidents. Most causes of death that were underestimated were those not much covered by the media, like asthma, tuberculosis, diabetes, stomach cancer, and heart disease.availability

6 © POSbase Frequency estimates of lethal events There are many applications of the availability heuristic in the literature:  Frequency estimates (Tversky & Kahneman., 1973)Tversky & Kahneman., 1973  Estimates of temporal distance of events (Brown et al., 1985).Brown et al., 1985  Spontaneous generation of numbers (Kubovy, 1977)  Stereotype formation (Rothbart et al., 1978)  Estimates of one’s share of group work (Ross & Sicoly, 1979)Ross & Sicoly, 1979  Weighing of evidence (Reyes et al., 1980)  Sex Typing (Bem, 1981)  Unrealistic optimism (Weinstein, 1980)  The fundamental attribution error (Ross, 1977)


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