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AstraSequi comments on The Affect Heuristic - Less Wrong

37 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 27 November 2007 07:58AM

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Comment author: AstraSequi 16 March 2012 01:52:00AM 1 point [-]

"Yamagishi (1997) showed that subjects judged a disease as more dangerous when it was described as killing 1,286 people out of every 10,000, versus a disease that was 24.14% likely to be fatal. Apparently the mental image of a thousand dead bodies is much more alarming, compared to a single person who's more likely to survive than not."

I'm not sure this is necessarily due to the mental image. My initial thoughts on reading this were that "1,286 people out of every 10,000" carries connotations implying that at least 10,000 people have been affected, since it would be strange to say that otherwise (you would say "out of 1,000" or a different convenient denominator). The 24.14% figure does not contain this information.

It's still not valid reasoning, since they used diseases that affect far more than 10,000 people. I'm just saying that I think the underlying basis in this example may be different.