Literati Bookstore, 124 E. Washington, Ann Arbor
Erb Institute Faculty Member and Professor, Andy Hoffman will be at Literati for a book signing of his new book, Finding Purpose. The book is currently on Amazon’s hot new releases in Sustainable Business Development list.
RSVP by May 26th
This event is open to Erb community members.
Ann Arbor District Main Library, 343 South Fifth Avenue, Ann Arbor
Event details: Looking to the Future: Ann Arbor in 2025, including conversations about local challenges and solutions on Ann Arbor’s path to a more sustainable future.
Founder and President of Decision Research; Professor of Psychology, University of Oregon
“Numbers and Nerves: Confronting the Arithmetic of Compassion and the World’s Urgent Problems”
Abstract: A defining element of catastrophes is the magnitude of their harmful consequences. To help society to prevent or mitigate damage from catastrophes, immense effort and technological sophistication are employed to assess and communicate the size and scope of potential or actual losses. This assumes that people can understand the resulting numbers and act on them appropriately.
However, recent research casts doubt on this assumption. Large numbers have been found to lack meaning and to be underweighted in decisions unless they convey affect (feeling). We respond strongly to aid a single individual in need, but often ignore mass tragedies such as genocide or fail to take appropriate measures to reduce potential losses from risks such as climate change and natural disasters. As the numbers get larger we become insensitive; numbers fail to trigger the emotion or feeling necessary to motivate action. In some cases the numbers convey a false sense of inefficacy, demotivating us from doing the good we are capable of. Biases in decision making compound these problems, leading to actions that contradict our stated values toward protecting lives.
A failure to understand how our minds become insensitive to catastrophic losses of human life and environmental integrity, and a failure to act on this knowledge, may condemn us to continue as passive witnesses to a wide range of atrocities and disasters.
Location: Ross School of Business
Presented in partnership with World Environment Center (WEC) and the Erb Institute