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Knowing Your Risks: The Effect of Information Representation on Risk Literacy

Michelle McDowell Max Planck CRF

Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series --  How might non-transparent statistical formats mislead the public, doctors, and other health professionals about the benefits and harms of health interventions? Using studies of statistical illiteracy in public and professional audiences, McDowell will highlight the consequences of misleading information representations on knowledge and health behavior and she will present simple strategies for improving the transparency of risk communications.

Michelle McDowell, PhD is a Research Scientist with the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany.  Her research focuses on developing transparent risk communication formats to promote statistical literacy.  Her recent work has focused on the visual communication of information and exploring how information represented in more or less ecological formats can affect understanding.  She works closely with health organizations to promote and design effective risk communication tools and to better understand how people make health decisions.

This lecture is sponsored by the Center for Research on Families’ Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series. The Center for Research on Families (CRF) is an endowed interdisciplinary research center in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and College of Natural Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.   The Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series brings internationally recognized speakers with expertise in family research to campus each year. The lecture series began in 1999 through an endowment established in memory of Tay Gavin Erickson.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 -
1:00pm to 2:30pm
Room 160 East, Commonwealth Honors College
Free and open to the public

Michelle McDowell, PhD
Research Scientist, Harding Center for Risk Literacy
Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany