Welcome to the Harding Center for Risk Literacy

What are the risks associated with electronic patient records, medical diagnosis by artificial intelligence and the use of health apps? To what extent can participation in cancer screening programmes prevent dying from cancer? These and similar questions are addressed by the Harding Center for Risk Literacy. We research, develop, and publish methods and tools that enable informed, risk literate, and efficient decisions in an increasingly digitalized world. We support experts and organizations to communicate facts accurately, transparently, and comprehensibly and contribute towards the ideal of a democratic society that knows how to calculate risks and live with uncertainty.

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Foto by Javier Allegue Barros

Decision-making under Uncertainty

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We develop empowerment strategies for critical interaction with and control of algorithmic decision environments

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Risk and Evidence Communication

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The research group Risk and Evidence Communication develops strategies to communicate about and better understand scientific evidence.

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Risk Literate?

Are you risk literate? Check your knowledge about risks and uncertainties of everyday life here!

» to the risk quiz

Quick Risk Test

This test is targeted at medical students and medical professionals:

Quick Risk Test

Bad Statistic of the Month

The Bad Statistic of the Month (“Unstatistik des Monats”, only available in German) has been published monthly since 2012. Every month, the authors question recently published statistics and their interpretations. The underlying aim is to help the public deal with data and facts more rationally, interpret numerical representations of reality correctly, and describe an increasingly complex world more adequately. 

TED Talk: Risk Literacy 

TEDx talk Gerd Gigerenzer


» watch the video

Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication

Our sister center, the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication, opened its doors in November 2016 in Cambridge, UK. It aims to ensure that quantitative evidence and risk is presented to people in a fair and balanced way.

Latest News

Unstatistik March 2020 (English): Corona pandemic - Statistical concepts and their limits

It is still uncertain how the COVID-19 pandemic will develop. The Unstatistics of the Month would like to shed some light on the current situation, at least with regard to statistical concepts. Therefore, we present none of the usual unstatistics, but instead explain essential concepts and their limits. Notwithstanding the fact that the most important factors in the forecast of the spread of COVID-19 are subject to a high degree of uncertainty, the containment of new infections must have absolute priority in the current situation. Moreover, whether the measures currently taken are effective can only be determined with a time lag. Country comparisons quickly reach their limits because case numbers and deaths are not collected according to uniform procedures. As far as statistics are concerned, the current principle is to proceed by “driving on sight” when assessing model calculations, and avoid placing too much attention to individual information.

© CDC via AP
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Study on the comprehension of fact boxes

A new paper by Harding Center member Michelle McDowell and members of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication: People understand and remember benefits and harms of a medical treatment better in table format (fact box) than plain text. Also, have a look at this blog for a summary of the study findings.

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TED-Ed Talk: "Why do people fear the wrong things?"

A new drug reduces the risk of heart attacks by 40%. Shark attacks are up by a factor of two. Drinking a liter of soda per day doubles your chance of developing cancer. These are all examples of a common way risk is presented in news articles, and can often be misleading. So how can we better evaluate risk? Gerd Gigerenzer explores the difference between relative and absolute risk. [Directed by Visorama, narrated by Addison Anderson].

» video

Screenshot TED-Ed-Talk

Communicating natural hazards: How can flood risks be presented in a transparent and understandable way?

In order to make the population more aware of impending severe weather events, the German Council of Economic Experts (Sachverständigenrat für Verbraucherfragen), an advisory body of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, commissioned Mirjam Jenny (Head Research Scientist of the Harding Center) and Nadine Fleischhut (Max Planck Institute for Human Development) to prepare a scientific report on improving communication about the dangers of floods and other natural disasters. Potential hazard situations need to be presented to the population and policyholders in a transparent and easily understandable manner, in order to enable an informed decision to take out insurance.

» link to the report (in German)

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