Yes. There is NO reason to change your behavior because you hear about more terrorist attacks on the news. The news is getting better at highlighting these events but terrorists are killing at a steady and very low rate.

This is a common mental heuristic (shortcut)- the availability bias. In a sentence it is the tendency to use easy to access or popular information to draw our conclusions. Ex — are more people being killed in car crashes or extremist attacks in the us? I would be tempted to say attacks because of how little I hear about car crash statistics on the news, but clearly that is not the correct answer.

People trusted one another enough to get in a strangers car and not fear their lives. After the explosion of the Internet in the 90s several cases of hitchhikers being murdered or raped came up and the cultural trust level went way down.

People stopped getting in cars because they heard more about the bad things that could happen, not because the number of bad things was actually rising.

So let’s think about the real numbers before deciding to change our behavior, or we could end up making very bad decisions based on instinct.



Product Manager + Software Developer. Interested in Travel, Culture, and the Internet.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store