Culture and Consciousness

About This Collection

This category covers a wide range of key words and phrases, but basically features EarthSayers who emphasize the importance of consciousness, being awake and aware and in this context, acknowledging the interconnectedness of all beings and acting accordingly with intelligence and compassion. Keywords included in this category range from spirituality and religion to consumerism and conservation. Stories and myths that reflect our beliefs and attitudes will also be found in this special collection.

Curated by mokiethecat

Paul Slovic | Confronting the Deadly Arithmetic of Compassion | Talks at Google
August 28, 2021

Paul Slovic discusses human perception towards mass tragedies and losses at scale.

We as a global society value individual lives greatly and respond strongly to protect a single person in need, but often ignore mass tragedies and fail to take appropriate measures to reduce their losses. As the numbers grow larger, we become insensitive; the data fail to trigger the emotion or feeling necessary to motivate action. In some cases, large numbers convey a false sense of inefficacy, discouraging us from taking valuable actions. Understanding how our minds deceive us in the face of large losses of life is essential to motivating actions needed to reduce the harm from catastrophic consequences such as those associated with poverty, disease, climate disasters, and violence.

Paul Slovic received his B.A. degree from Stanford University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from the University of Michigan. In 1976, Dr. Slovic founded the research institute Decision Research with Sarah Lichtenstein and Baruch Fischhoff, where he currently serves as President. He has also been a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon since 1986. He and his colleagues worldwide have developed methods to describe risk perceptions and measure their impacts on individuals, industry, and society. His most recent work examines “psychic numbing” and the failure to respond to global threats from genocide and nuclear war. He publishes extensively and serves as a consultant to industry and government.

Dr. Slovic is a past President of the Society for Risk Analysis and in 1991 received its Distinguished Contribution Award. In 1993 he received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association. In 1995 he received the Outstanding Contribution to Science Award from the Oregon Academy of Science. He has received honorary doctorates from the Stockholm School of Economics (1996) and the University of East Anglia (2005). Dr. Slovic was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2016.

Moderated by Ozgen Dundar.

EarthSayer Paul Slovic

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