Communicating Quantitative Risk Information
People often seek quantitative risk information, but, at the same time, many have problems understanding risk messages that contain statistics and numbers. Common hurdles with comprehending such messages can be related to the risk message itself, the message sender, and the message receiver. In this chapter, we review literature indicating that some representations and formats of quantitative risk information are easier to understand than others. These representations provide an important tool for risk communicators. Second, we detail the ways in which the message sender, a risk communicator, may hinder effective communication. Third, we discuss receiver characteristics, including literacy and numeracy skills, which can affect how the message is comprehended. For each of these three classes, we give practical recommendations that may help risk communicators to effectively communicate quantitative risk information. We conclude with a discussion of quantitative risk information in relation to risk perception and provide future research directions.