How “Normal News” Could Save Us From Ourselves

The struggle is real.

If I Can Remember It Easily, It Must Be More Likely

There are currently two biases, the availability heuristic and neglect of probability, that work together to really screw up our priorities (not to mention confirmation bias just exacerbating things). Because the news reports on things that are spectacular, but unusual (and are spectacular in part because they’re unusual)—like shark attacks or plane crashes—we assume they are more common (and therefore more likely to happen) than things that don’t get as much attention, like heart disease or city council meetings, that actually have far more impact on our lives.

The Value of the Mundane

Where we have misconceptions about the other, it’s important to level set with the most mundane truths available, so that when we try to recall something about Muslims, it’s as likely as not we’ll think of someone playing video games as someone plotting the downfall of America. So, literally, a channel that is nothing but Muslims Playing Video Games would begin to replace what you recall when you hear the word “Muslim”.

More Common Than You Think

This is where we get into heart disease versus terrorism 0r shark attacks versus vending machines. We need content that helps us understand and visualize and normalize what we should be afraid of. Now, of course, you can’t mandate what someone is afraid of. You can, however, give them representations that match, objectively, what’s most likely to threaten them. Through this, people may begin to understand that they may be way more dangerous to themselves than a black man or a Mexican.

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David Dylan Thomas

David Dylan Thomas

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Big fan of treating people like people. Author, Design for Cognitive Bias. Founder, CEO, David Dylan Thomas, LLC. Speaker, Lots of Places.