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Posted: 11/4/2009 5:11:04 AM EST
http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/11/fear_and_overre.html


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Assessing and reacting to risk is one of the most important things a living creature has to deal with. The amygdala, an ancient part of the brain that first evolved in primitive fishes, has that job. It's what's responsible for the fight-or-flight reflex. Adrenaline in the bloodstream, increased heart rate, increased muscle tension, sweaty palms; that's the amygdala in action. And it works fast, faster than consciousnesses: show someone a snake and their amygdala will react before their conscious brain registers that they're looking at a snake.

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Far too often, we don't. We tend to be poor judges of risk. We overact to rare risks, we ignore long-term risks, we magnify risks that are also morally offensive. We get risks wrong –– threats, probabilities, and costs –– all the time. When we're afraid, really afraid, we'll do almost anything to make that fear go away. Both politicians and marketers have learned to push that fear button to get us to do what they want.

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Works on a lot of stuff, not just TSA precautions or CCW / gun ownership.
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 7:19:08 AM EST
Excellent read, thanks.
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