About us

Our aim is to study how people behave in risk situations. We believe that our work can contribute towards the ideal of a society that knows how to calculate risks and live with them.

Gerd Gigerenzer

Should I have a flu vaccination or not? Is it safer to travel by car or by plane? Can early-detection screening tests for cancer prolong my life? Questions like these are the research focus of our team of scientists led by Gerd Gigerenzer, director of the Center.
© Jonathan Böhringer

Our goal is to help people in their struggle to understand and assess the risks facing them. Our primary focus is on health and medicine as well as on educating people from childhood onwards to understand statistics. By conducting studies, experiments, and surveys, we investigate people's problems with understanding numbers and find solutions to these. We also offer special training seminars for physicians and journalists, who particularly need to know how to interpret and communicate risks to their patients and the general public.

Gerd Gigerenzer

prof. Gerd Gigerenzer

Gerd Gigerenzer is a former director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and author of numerous books, including Gut Feelings and Calculated Risks: How to Know When Numbers Deceive You (titled Reckoning with Risk in the UK), both of which were named Science Book of the Year in Germany (2007 and 2002).

David Harding

David Harding

The Harding Center for Risk Literacy is named after David Harding, who created an endowment for the Center. Harding, global investment manager and director of Winton Capital, became aware of Gerd Gigerenzer's work after Reckoning with Risk was named Science Book of the Year by the Royal Society. The meeting with Professor Gigerenzer inspired him to establish the Winton Professorship of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

The Institute

MPIB Gebäude
© David Ausserhofer

The Max Planck Institute for Human Development, founded in 1963, is an interdisciplinary research institution dedicated to the study of human development. The Institute is part of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, an independent, non-profit research organisation.