'Risk intelligence' site opens


RESEARCH IS underway to try to measure people’s “risk intelligence” their ability to gauge probability and anticipate levels of risk.

Having the skill might make you a successful gambler, but is also valuable when responding to issues such as climate change and terrorism according to Dr Dylan Evans, who is conducting the research.

He launched a website yesterday where people can participate in the research and help him build up the average level of risk intelligence among the public ( www.projectionpoint.com).

It involves a short questionnaire and attempts to measure whether a person is more likely to take a chance and guess or is more conservative when making a choice.

A behavioural scientist in University College Cork’s School of Medicine, Dr Evans became interested in the subject after reading a paper on racetrack gamblers published almost 25 years ago.

It noted that ordinary, not compulsive, gamblers fell into two groups, those who did little better than break even and those who were extremely successful, what he termed “expert gamblers”.

“The most interesting thing of all was this expertise in estimating the likelihood of a horse winning a race was completely independent of IQ,” he said yesterday.

The winners did not have any special skill in maths, so he decided to investigate what might have given them an edge.

“Maybe there was another kind of intelligence, a special cognitive ability for estimating probability and thinking about risk,” he said.