Preprint Concept Paper Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Innate Perception of Risk: Probability Ratio or Difference?

Version 1 : Received: 7 December 2020 / Approved: 8 December 2020 / Online: 8 December 2020 (12:17:33 CET)

How to cite: Watve, M.; Vidwans Dubey, H.; Kharate, R. Innate Perception of Risk: Probability Ratio or Difference?. Preprints 2020, 2020120200 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202012.0200.v1). Watve, M.; Vidwans Dubey, H.; Kharate, R. Innate Perception of Risk: Probability Ratio or Difference?. Preprints 2020, 2020120200 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202012.0200.v1).

Abstract

In public health literature the risk of death or disease associated with a dietary, environmental of behavioral factor is most commonly denoted by odds ratio (OR), hazard ratio (HR) or risk ratio (RR). The ratio indices have several desirable statistical properties. However, the most important question is whether there are some evolved innate norms of perception of risk that people use and what they are. We conducted a simple one question survey of 98 individuals with different age, sex, educational and professional backgrounds. The respondents were asked to judge the relative perceived risk of four different hypothetical habits for which data on the percentage of people affected by the disease with and without the habit was given. They were asked to rank the risks for the four habits. Results showed that the habits that had the highest difference between probability of acquiring the disease were ranked high on risk perception. The probability ratios did not affect risk perception significantly. Further age, sex, profession or formal training in statistics did not affect the response significantly. Even individuals that were formally trained to use OR and HR as risk indicators, preferred using probability differences over ratios for judging their own risk in the perceived context. This preliminary inquiry into intuitive statistical perception suggests that designing statistical indices based on people’s innate perception may be a better strategy than trying to train people to understand the indices designed by expert statisticians.

Subject Areas

risk assessment; odds ratio; hazard ratio; probability difference

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