ATLANTA—Stressing that the effort represented the best chance of ensuring American make responsible choices around the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that it planned to send every U.S. household a pamphlet on probabilistic thinking and decision-making. “What we’re hoping to do is give every American a quick refresher on how to use statistical analysis to assess their priors and make Bayesian inferences, thereby ensuring they overcome their innate psychological biases—simple stuff, but important nonetheless,” said CDC director Rochelle Walensky, estimating that the pamphlets’ lessons on the baseline fallacy alone would save far more lives than mask-wearing, handwashing, and the Covid-19 vaccine combined. “Obviously, most everyone in the nation has already at least skimmed the seminal studies of psychologist Danny Kahneman on the fallibility of human thinking. So the pamphlet will skip over some of the basic stuff like the availability heuristic and head straight to prospect theory. Hopefully none of this feels too patronizing.” Walensky added that if Americans took away one easy lesson from the pamphlet, she hoped it would be P(H|E) = (P(E|H) *P(H))/P(E).
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