September 22, 2017

Despite a recent death in an accident on a Southwest flight, it's still safer to fly than drive . So why do we still get sweaty palms before takeoff? Eugenia Cheng, a mathematician at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, explains the math behind our fears… and how we might be able to overcome them.

Three Takeaways 

  • Flying makes us nervous because the stakes are very, very high. Even though we know a plane crash is unlikely, if it does happen, the outcome is probably not going to be good.
  • If a flight is going to have problems, statistics show that it’ll likely be during takeoff. Knowing this, Cheng listened to a recording of a jet engine revving up while sitting on her couch at home. She began to associate the sound with the comfort of home.
  • Our fears are often rooted in some kind of rationality, says Cheng. And sometimes math can help us dissect them.

More reading 

innovation hub, Eugenia Cheng, pri, Kara Miller, WGBH

Previous Post

How Your Health Data Gets Sold

Next Post

The People Powering AI Decisions

comments powered by Disqus