Risk and Uncertainty Communication

Spiegelhalter, David John (2017-03-07)


This review briefly examines the vast range of techniques used to communicate risk assessments arising from statistical analysis. After discussing essential psychological and sociological issues, I focus on individual health risks and relevant research on communicating numbers, verbal expressions, graphics, and conveying deeper uncertainty. I then consider practice in a selection of diverse case studies, including gambling, the benefits and risks of pharmaceuticals, weather forecasting, natural hazards, climate change, environmental exposures, security and intelligence, industrial reliability, and catastrophic national and global risks. There are some tentative final conclusions, but the primary message is to acknowledge expert guidance, be clear about objectives, and work closely with intended audiences.