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News | Tuesday, 25 June 2019

The role of science in the perception and assessment of risks

The role of science in the perception and assessment of risks

Illustration: Sisters of Design

The international conference “The mystery of risks - How can science help reconcile perception and assessment?” from Thursday, 4th to Saturday, 6th of July in Potsdam will focus on the role of science in perception, assessment and handling of risks in our growingly complex world. This includes the frequent overestimation of certain risks associated for example with terrorism, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence or vaccination but also the prevalent underestimation of risks associated with common causes of destruction, illness and death.

The scientific community attempting to assess and communicate these risks objectively is often confronted with big challenges since public risk perception systematically follows more subjective and emotional principles. This systematic misjudgment of risks often leads to irrational individual and sociopolitical decisions and the inefficient use of resources.

In the three-day conference 20 scientists from areas such as sociology, economy, philosophy, psychology, medicine, meteorology and biology will discuss the following questions:

  • Did our lives get riskier or do we simply know too much about potential risks?
  • How are risks socially constructed?
  • What are commonly underestimated and overestimated risks?
  • What are the positive as well as negative consequences of the misperception of risks?
  • Does the precautionary principle hinder innovation and progress?
  • How can science help to reconcile the systematic misperception of risk and promote evidence-based policy in this context?
  • How to promote risk literacy and resilience of individuals and society?

The conference is the second event within the series “Crossing Boundaries in Science” (CBiS).

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Caroline Wichmann

Head of Department Press and Public Relations

Phone 0345 - 472 39 - 800
Fax 0345 - 472 39 - 809
E-Mail caroline.wichmann @leopoldina.org

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