Pictures that say 1,000 words


A new piece of scientific research (summarized here) discusses the power of storytelling, and how frames can trump facts.

Why do men want routine prostate cancer screenings (and why do women want routine breast cancer screenings) even when the facts say these tests, generally speaking, do more harm than good?

The authors suggest one possible reason is the power of a good story.  Cancer survivors all have powerful stories.  People have heard individual tales of how screenings have saved lives, and that is more persuasive than some impersonal, statistics-spewing government bureaucrat (the same probably could be said for the link between autism and childhood vaccines, which is unsupported by data but still  given credence by many, many people).

One way to help facts trump frames, according to the authors?  Present the hard data in a compelling visual (see above).

The article summary is a nice, short account of how easy it is to blunder into a poor decision.