A project to promote risk literacy

Can I trust my banking advisor to recommend products that suit me? Can participation in cancer screening programs prolong my life? The answers to these questions can - and will - vary from person to person. However, statistics can provide orientation for individuals. The aim of the RisikoAtlas project is to develop methods and tools to empower consumers in dealing with decisions under risk and uncertainty. To this end, the tools developed in the project will promote the necessary competencies.  This is necessary because everyday risks and chances are often not correctly assessed and statistical representations in the media are rarely understood.

In order to support consumers in their decisions, digital tools based on scientific results were developed at the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development: Interactive visualisations of evidence-based risk communication and learning visualisations to improve risk literacy, as well as an app for decision support and a browser extension for risk reading assistance. The development of these tools was accompanied by a comprehensive research program.

If your organisation wants to inform and empower consumers, we provide you with tools that you can integrate into your consumer communication. For each tool, you can find detailed instructions on how to do this. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact us.

The project was funded by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) on the basis of a resolution of the German Bundestag. The project was funded by the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) as part of the programme to promote innovation.

The project began in July 2016. The research activities report was released on September 30, 2020, and the publishing of results is ongoing.

The "RisikoKompass" app

How do you make good decisions when there are too many information available? You need to distinguish between good and bad options, i.e. separating the wheat from the chaff. However, this is often not easy. But what is quality and demand-oriented? This app provides you with the view of experts who make decisions - be it trustworthy health information or quality violations in investment advice. For this purpose, the most important test criteria were identified using machine learning methods. You can test it for yourself and thus make better decisions!



The browser extension "RisikoRadar"

Well, statistics are strange. If we read somewhere: "The danger increases by 100%", we become alarmed and worried. Dabei sagen solche Anstiege erst einmal nicht viel aus. Denn eine hohe Prozentzahl – das sogenannte relative Risiko – bedeutet nicht automatisch ein hohes Risiko. Such increases or decreases do not say much at first. We should therefore always ask ourselves the following question with relative statistical data: What does this percentage mean? In many texts, only relative figures are given. This can also be a journalistic means of making facts sound more dramatic. Our browser extension "RisikoRadar" is intended to draw your attention to these cases, illustrate absolute risks graphically and support you in breaking the power of statistics.