02 June 2010

The truth about frightening facts

Do scary statistics frighten you enough to change your behaviour? Apparently, not, according to the experts.

Are statistics - particularly those that scare us - persuasive enough to change our behaviour? LAUREN SETON-SMITH of Shape Magazine plays the numbers game.

Stats don’t reach people
"Stats just don’t have an impact," says psychologist Dr Helgo Schomer, who specialises in self-destructive behaviour pattern modification. “Even among statistics professionals, the consensus is that most stats simply don’t reach people.”

(This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared in the January 2007 edition of Shape magazine. For more great stories from Shape, visit


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