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

Call for a Study for Health Educators

You inform about health-related topics (e.g. vaccinations) and want to contribute to a more target group-oriented care? We are studying the knowledge and behaviour of citizens with different cultural, linguistic and social backgrounds about COVID-19 and influenza vaccination.

» Please support the study!

Latest News

Research project PREPARE starts in March

PREPARE is an interdisciplinary project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research that seeks to explore the attitudes, needs, and expectations of physicians, at-risk individuals, and their families in regard to biomarker testing for Alzheimer’s disease, and to develop a risk communication tool that addresses the limited risk literacy and technical skills of individuals with cognitive impairments.

» weiterlesen

RIPCOP Workshop

We are excited to announce the RIPCOP workshop - Risk Prediction and Perception in Health - on the question of how risk prediction can advance a patient-centred healthcare system. Held at the Medical School Brandenburg in Neuruppin on 13-15 June, 2023.

Find out more and apply here: http://www.ripcop.org


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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.

» publication

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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