Fact Boxes

The Harding Center for Risk Literacy collaborates with a number of organizations to develop fact boxes on health topics that are targeted at the general population and doctors alike. The fact boxes are intended to enable consumers to understand the advantages and disadvantages of certain medical measures so they can decide whether or not to consent to them.

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The project started in July 2016.

The project RisikoAtlas aims to develop unique but related tools to empower the public to deal with everyday risks and uncertainty. These instruments are based on current evidence, scientific literature on decision-making and on the rigorous research and testing conducted during all phases of the endeavor.

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Drohnenrisiken verstehen


Ziel des Projekts "Drohnenrisiken verstehen" ist es, geeignete Formate für die Kommunikation der mit unbemannten Luftfahrzeugen assoziierten Risiken und Unsicherheiten zu entwickeln. Das Projekt wird seit dem 1.10.2018 vom Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur gefördert. Weiterer Projektpartner ist das Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.

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A two-year cooperation agreement with the goal of visualising the results of health risk assessment in a generally understandable manner has been in force between the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development since August 2017.

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Algorithms as decision-making aids

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As research has shown, just as pilots review a checklist before starting their planes in order to increase air traffic security, so can automatically using behavioral guidelines increase safety in medicine and lead to better treatment. The Harding Center investigates how to develop transparent and practicable algorithms for everyday clinical use that both doctors and patients are comfortable with and that ideally combine medical experience and intuition. > read more

Algorithms as decision-making aids can be represented in simple decision trees (also known as fast-and-frugal trees). Simple decision trees resemble hierarchically ordered checklists. On the basis of a few key questions to be answered with yes or no, they quickly lead to a recommended action. The Harding Center conducts research on and develops fast-and-frugal trees for clinical use but also for daily life. > read more


Risikokompetenz und Eigenverantwortung sind zwei zentrale Voraussetzungen, damit wir ein erfolgreiches und selbstbestimmtes Leben führen können. Risiken zu erkennen, ist immer der erste Schritt. Sie aufgrund von Erfahrung auch richtig einzuschätzen, ist der nächste. Aber nur wer dann auch aktiv wird, kann erfolgreich mit Risiken umgehen und negative Folgen für sich abwenden.

Wie ist es um die Risikokompetenz und Eigenverantwortung der Deutschen bestellt? Das untersuchen wir zusammen mit der ERGO in einer Studienreihe zu diesen fünf Themen: Alter, Geld, Gesundheit, Sicherheit und Digitalisierung.

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Horizon2020-project FORECEE

Funded by the European Union

Cancer screening programs such as mammography are often offered to all women in target age groups. However, it is well known that in women with a low risk of a certain cancer – for example, if there are no cases of breast cancer in the family – screening often leads to false-positive alarms and overdiagnosis. This can result in unnecessary overtreatment: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy that do not improve the patient’s chances of survival, but can cause physical and psychological harm.

Against this background, the Horizon2020 research project “Female cancer prediction using cervical omics to individualise screening and prevention” (FORECEE) has taken on the task of developing a test that could determine the risk of developing four cancers that are specific to women.

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Bank of England

Aktien Symbolbild

In 2011, we established collaborations with the Bank of England. In this long-term collaboration program, we are investigating how the central concepts of our research group can help design and test simple rules of thumb for regulating and improving today's complex financial system. There are three ongoing subprograms:

  • Developing regulatory heuristics for making the banking system more robust and safe;
  • Applying heuristics such as fast-and-frugal trees to predict failures of specific banks;
  • Improving risk communication using natural frequency and icon array formats, so that financial risks can be communicated in ways that are transparent and easier to understand.


Preliminary results of the program have been featured in Andrew Haldane's 2012 speech at the Jackson Hole Conference

Researchers from the Bank of England
Andrew Haldane
Vasileios Madouros
David Aikman
Sujit Kapadia
Emma Murphy

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute
Gerd Gigerenzer
Konstantinos Katsikopoulos
Mirta Galesic 
Amit Kothiyal
Stojan Davidovic