HEALTH BEHAVIOUR

More risks can feel less risky

In the United States, direct-to-consumer advertisements for medications must disclose each specific side-effect risk. A new study demonstrates a counterintuitive dilution effect: people perceive drug descriptions that include both serious and trivial side effects as less risky than descriptions that only list serious side effects.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    Subchapter C — Drugs: General, 21 CFR § 202.1 (2017).

  2. 2.

    Protection of Human Subjects, 45 CFR § 46.116 (2009).

  3. 3.

    Sivanathan, N. & Kakkar, H. Nat. Hum. Behav. 1, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-017-0223-1 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Schwartz, L. M., Woloshin, S. & Welch, H. G. Ann. Intern. Med. 150, 516–527 (2009).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Reyna, V. F. Curr. Dir. Psychol. Sci. 13, 60–66 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Reyna, V. F. & Brainerd, C. J. Learn. Individ. Differ. 17, 147–159 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Zikmund-Fisher, B. J. Med. Care Res. Rev. 70(suppl. 1), 37S–49S (2013).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Rid, A., Emanuel, E. J. & Wendler, D. JAMA 304, 1472–1479 (2010).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zikmund-Fisher, B.J. More risks can feel less risky. Nat Hum Behav 1, 782–783 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-017-0228-9

Download citation

Search

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing