Oral 2

Science Reporter: Aaron Reich

Police Officer: Derrick

Psychologist: Mel


** these are only suggested answers.  Please answer however you want! **


(Questions from Sections 4.7 and 4.8)


What kinds of risks are involved when you are driving on the job?


Police Officer:


Do you take similar risks while driving off duty?


Police Officer:


What kinds of risky driving behaviors do you see on the job?


Police Officer:


What do you think causes fluctuations in different individuals’ assessment of risk?


Police Officer:  Different people assess risks differently.  More skilled drivers take more risks because they’re more confident.  Some people feel lucky.


Psychologist:            Past experience plays a major role in peoples’ assessment of risks.  Previous lucky or unlucky experiences bring about changes in a person’s level of cautiousness.


What can cause people to be more cautious drivers?


Police Officer:  When people feel they are in danger I think they tend to drive more safely.  Also if they have young children in the car.  I know I drive more safely with my family than when I’m alone on patrol.


Psychologist:  Any increase in the expected accident potential causes people to drive more cautiously.


Does the theory of risk homeostatis apply to everyone?


Police Officer: ?


Psychologist:            All individuals go through this process of risk homeostatis; however, homeostatis does not occur on a collective level because it is an individual process.  As more accidents occur and statistics increase, the perceived level of risk associated with driving goes up for all individuals.


How does individual assessment of risk reflect the consciousness of the collective?


Psychologist:  If one looks up at a flock of birds turning in flight, or down from a tall tower at the traffic movements below, the collective action sometimes appears as if it were guided by an "invisible hand". The illusion is created by the smooth coordination of individual decisions, the individuals (birds or drivers) each finely tuning their actions to the actions of other individuals. Continuity over time is similarly achieved.


Why do people take risks while driving?


Psychologist:  It is human nature to optimize, not minimize, their level of risk-taking for the purpose of maximizing benefits.  In the case of driving, benefits of risk taking are arriving at their destination sooner, experiencing a thrill from driving faster, or perhaps impressing passengers.  The human being is a strategist.