880087 :Probability Information & Risk Communication (CSAI/HAIT/DJ)

General info

Instruction language English
Type of Instruction Plenary meetings and discussion groups (Lecture schedule)
Type of exams Final exam (Examination schedule)
Course load:6 ECTS credits
Registration:Enrollment via Blackboard
Blackboard InfoLink to Blackboard (When you see 'Guest are not allowed in this course', please login at Blackboard itself)


dr. H.J. Brighton (coordinator)


At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Distinguish different representations and interpretations of probability, and understand the role the play in conveying risk and uncertainty
  • Explain how the psychology of risk perception influences human behavior, both at the level of individuals and groups
  • Recognize the hallmarks of deceptive and ambiguous communication techniques when conveying everyday uncertainties
  • List and explain effective representations and techniques for the transparent communication of uncertainty
  • Critically examine everyday examples of how experts, the media, and institutions convey risks to the general public


Much of the information we use to guide our daily lives is uncertain. Our wellbeing is influenced by our perception of terrorism, threats to public health, and financial crises. Informed decisions about our health, finances, and education typically require a judgment about potential benefits, harms, probabilities, and frequencies. The focus of this course is the study of how people behave in risk situations, and how people can learn to interpret and make informed decisions using the statistical information supplied by experts, the media, and institutions. After considering the psychology of risk perception the course considers the various techniques used in everyday risk communication. This includes techniques that aid transparent communication, but also common techniques that obscure evidence and influence rather than inform citizens. This course will equip students with an understanding of risk and uncertainty, how to convey these risk and uncertainties in a transparent way, and how to recognize and improve on deceptive communication techniques.

Compulsory Reading

  1. Gigerenzer, G. (2002). Reckoning with risk. London: Penguin Books..
  2. Gaissmaier, W. (2015)., The amplification of risk in experimental diffusion chains., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 112, 5631-5636..
  3. Woloshin, S. (2007)., Helping doctors and patients to make sense of health statistics., Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 8, 53-96..

Required Prerequisites


Recommended option for

  • Master Business Communication and Digital Media ( 2016, 2017 )
  • Master Communication Design ( 2016, 2017 )
  • Master Human Aspects of Information Technology ( 2016 )
  • Master Data Journalism ( 2016 )
  • Master Communication and Information Sciences ( 2016, 2017 )
  • Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence ( 2017 )