Saturday, October 27, 2007

No sympathy for statistics   posted by Razib @ 10/27/2007 02:37:00 PM

Sympathy and callousness: The impact of deliberative thought on donations to identifiable and statistical victims. I think the figure to the left really says it all. People give more money to individuals who are identifiable as opposed to plain clear statistics, but adding statistics to a face actually suppresses giving! One of the reasons that I think people dislike data and statistics is that they're rather stupid and can't remember the context or process them analytically. But these data do suggest I think that another reason is that numbers are emotionally deadening and probably don't give result in the reward sense that one wants or needs. Putting an identifiable person into a statistical framework removes the emotional impulse as well. This is all rather disheartening when you think about the nature of representative democracy.