Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Risk assessments and learned behaviour

I was in yet another safety training session the other day when our instructor mentioned that people do risk assessments all the time, such as when crossing the road. He claimed it was an automatic response to dangerous situations - something built in to us as a species. I disagree, because babies and children don't do that kind of assessment automatically at all. A crawling baby presented with a gap won't hesitate to tumble right over the edge the first time. A child playing with a ball near a road will happily chase it into heavy traffic. So humans do not automatically do risk assessments until they've been hurt or taught. It's a learned behaviour. And presented with an unfamiliar situation, humans cannot recognise the inherent risks.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I guess that extends to investments too.
PPS - You might never know what you're getting into.

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