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More Or Less Friday, 21 February, 2003, 17:16 GMT
The perception of risk
Fence protecting Eurotunnel in northern France
Is our sense of danger out of proportion to the actual risk?

More or Less was broadcast on Tuesday, 25 February, 2003 at 1600 GMT on BBC Radio 4.

 Click here to listen to the programme


One of the most powerful news values is rarity.

If it is unusual, it is news.

But what does that do to our sense of risk when accidents or dangers are reported?

Could it be that the least likely things get the most coverage and distort our perspective?

More or Less talked to psychologist Paul Slovic and to Roger Harrabin, Radio 4's Today programme transport correspondent, who is examining these questions for the BBC and the King's Fund health research group.

His findings will be published by the King's Fund later this year.

You can find more about the Fund at

Identity numbers

And, as the UK government considers introducing an entitlement card, we look at the fear of identity numbers.

It is the classic way to dehumanise someone - prisoners, enemies of the state. Take away their name and give them a number.

Is that fear still valid when we are identified by dozens of numbers for many of the simple transactions in life?

More or Less heard from Perri 6, an expert on data protection; D J Taylor, author of a biography of George Orwell; and Marek Rejman-Greene, a Security Solutions consultant at British Telecom.

'Number blindness'

Plus the new test available to schools for dyscalculia. If you have never heard of it you are not alone, many teachers have not either. One way of thinking of it is as dyslexia with numbers.

More or Less spoke to Brian Butterworth, Professor of Neuropsychology at University College, London; and to children, parents and teacher, Andy How, at Bradfield Primary school in Theale, Berkshire.


Further information on dyscalculia

Information on dyscalculia is available from the British Dyslexia Association and nferNelson learning support.

BDA helpline: 0118 966 8271


Producer: Michael Blastland
Editor: Nicola Meyrick

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