Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What Should You Be More Afraid Of: Scorpions, Snakes, Bees, or Cheese?

The below infographic shows how often people die from animals that lots of people are scared of - polar bears, scorpions, wolves, mountain lions, black bears, alligators, snakes, spiders, and bees.

As you can see, far more people die of cheese (i.e. heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, obesity, and stroke) than from these scary animals each year (in fact, these cheese-related diseases kill 28 MILLION TIMES as many people per year as scorpions):


Why are people so much more afraid of scorpions and spiders than cheese? A combination of cognitive biases (the availability heuristic, the attentional bias, the confirmation bias, the ostrich effect, and a few others) leads humans to drastically overestimate the probability of "dramatic" death events (such as dying from a spider bite or plane crash) while dramatically underestimating the probability of "mundane" death events (such as dying from heart disease, second-hand smoke, or car crash).

So, choose your fears wisely - and be more afraid of cheese and your car than going outside!

1 comment:

  1. I don't care what you say. I will not live in fear of cheese! (except for the overly processed kind...)

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