Wolfgang Gaissmaier How Does Risk Perception Change over the Course of Communication Chains?

Wolfgang Gaissmaier is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Konstanz at the Department of Psychology, Social Psychology and Decision Research and an adjunct researcher at the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany. His areas of interest include risk perception and communication as well as judgment and decision making. He has received the Otto Hahn Medal for outstanding scientific achievements from the Max Planck Society and the Rising Star designation from the Association of Psychological Science. In 2012, Gaissmaier was elected into the Young Academy of Sciences of Germany.

Area of Research

Judgment and Decision Making, Risk Perception and Communication

Wolfgang Gaissmaier and Gerd Gigerenzer. "9/11, Act II a Fine-Grained Analysis of Regional Variations in Traffic Fatalities in the Aftermath of the Terrorist Attacks." Psychological Science 23 (2012): 1449-1454.  
Wolfgang Gaissmaier and Lael J. Schooler. "The Smart Potential Behind Probability Matching." Cognition 109 (2008): 416-422.  
Gerd Gigerenzer and Wolfgang Gaissmaier. "Heuristic Decision Making." Annual Review of Psychology 62 (2011): 451-482.  
Wolfgang Gaissmaier, Odette Wegwarth, David Skopec, Ann-Sophie Müller, Sebastian Broschinski and Mary C. Politi. "Numbers Can be Worth a Thousand Pictures: Individual Differences in Understanding Graphical and Numerical Representations of Health-Related Information." Health Psychology 31 (2012): 286-296.  
Wolf E. Hautz, Juliane E. Kämmer, Stefan K. Schauber, Claudia D. Spies and Wolfgang Gaissmaier. "Diagnostic Performance by Medical Students Working Individually or in Teams." Journal of the American Medical Association 313 (2015): 303-304.  

2014

Full Professor for Psychology

University of Konstanz (Universität Konstanz)

Department of Psychology, Social Psychology and Decision Research

2008

Chief Research Scientist

Max Planck Society (more details)

Max Planck Institute for Human Development

2007

Postdoctoral Fellow

Max Planck Society (more details)

Max Planck Institute for Human Development

2003

Predoctoral Fellow

Max Planck Society (more details)

Max Planck Institute for Human Development

2013

Habilitation and Venia Legendi in Psychology

Heidelberg University (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)

Thesis "Decision Making Under Risk and Uncertainty: A Cognitive-Ecological Perspective"

2007

PhD in Psychology

Free University of Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin)

Thesis "The Mnemonic Decision Maker: How Search in Memory Shapes Decision Making"

2002

Diploma in Psychology

Free University of Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin)

Acta Psychologica

Advances in Cognitive Psychology

American Journal of Political Science

Annals of Behavioral Medicine

Annual Conference of the German Network for Evidence-Based Medicine

Applied Cognitive Psychology

Behavior Research Methods

Behaviour and Information Technology

Bundesgesundheitsblatt

Cancer Medicine

Cognition

Cognitive Science

Decision

Deutsches Ärzteblatt

Dutch Cancer Society

Emotion

European Journal of Psychological Assessment

European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (ECAI)

European Journal of Cognitive Psychology

European Psychologist

European Research Council (ERC)

Experimental Psychology

Frontiers in Eating Behavior

German Research Foundation (DFG)

Health Psychology

Imagination, Cognition and Psychology

International Conference on Cognitive Modeling (ICCM)

Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition

Journal of Behavioral Decision Making

Journal of Cognitive Psychology

Journal of Comparative Psychology

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

Journal of Health Psychology

Judgment and Decision Making

Medical Decision Making

Memory and Cognition

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

Patient Education and Counseling

Proceedings of the Royal Society B

Psychological Bulletin

Psychological Science

Psychonomic Bulletin and Review

Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology

Review of General Psychology

Risk Analysis

Social Science and Medicine

Science

Subjective Probability, Utility, and Decision Making (SPUDM) Conference

Technological Forecasting and Social Change

Vaccine

Zeitschrift für Sportpsychologie

Prizes

Rising Star, Association for Psychological Science (2013)

Dissertation Prize (runner up), German Psychological Society, Section: General Psychology (2009)

Otto Hahn Medal for Outstanding Scientific Achievements, Max Planck Society (2008)

New Investigator Award, Brunswik Society (2006)

Fellowships

Fellow, German Young Academy (2012)

Research Project “Adaptive Pattern Detection and Illusory Beliefs: Flipsides of the Same Coin?”. Principal Investigator (together with Nathaniel Phillips and Hansjörg Neth), Committee on Research, University of Konstanz (2014)

Project “Effective Communication About Cancer Screening when Inviting the General Public to Participate”. Principal Investigator, German Ministry of Health (2012)

Extension of the Funding for the Harding Center for Risk Literacy. Chief Research Scientist (together with Director Gerd Gigerenzer), Winton Capital Managment (2011)

Project “Helping People with Low Numeracy Understand Medical Information”. Co-Principal Investigator (together with Principal Investigator Mirta Galesic and others), Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making (2007)

© Maximilian Dörrbecker

Max Planck Society


"The Max Planck Society is Germany's most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at Max Planck Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field." (Source)

Institute

Max Planck Institute for Human Development

"The Max Planck Institute for Human Development is dedicated to the study of human development and education. Researchers of various disciplines – including psychology, education, sociology and medicine, as well as history, economics, computer science and mathematics – work together on interdisciplinary projects at the Berlin Institute. The research questions they examine include how people make effective decisions even under time pressure and information overload, which effects the institution of school has on students’ development and learning processes, how the interaction between behaviour and brain function changes over the lifespan, as well as how human emotions change in a historical context and how they have affected the course of history itself." (Source)

Map

Risk perception is not only an individual but also a social phenomenon. The experiment presented in this video examines the development of perceived risk over the course of a communication chain: The first person got a balanced overview on a chemical and its risks then information was passed on from person to person. WOLFGANG GAISSMAIER elaborates how this set up led to an amplification of risk perception and the distortion of facts, and explains how the makeup of the group affects the final attitudes towards the risk in question.

LT Video Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.21036/LTPUB10123

The Amplification of Risk in Experimental Diffusion Chains

  • Mehdi Moussaïd, Henry Brighton and Wolfgang Gaissmaier
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
  • Published in 2015

Chicago

Mehdi Moussaïd, Henry Brighton and Wolfgang Gaissmaier. "The Amplification of Risk in Experimental Diffusion Chains." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 112 (2015): 5631-5636.