Paul Slovic, Department of Psychology

Paul Slovic

President, Decision Research
Practice Areas: Human Judgment, Decision Making, Risk Perception

Faculty bio | Decision Research | (541) 485-2400

Paul Slovic is an academic expert in human judgment, decision making, and risk perception. For his ground-breaking research toward understanding how humans make consequential decisions, Slovic was awarded the Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science by the Franklin Institute in 2022. Paul studies the psychology of risk and perceptions of risks. His most recent research examines psychological factors contributing to apathy toward genocide.

Recent Media:
As mass shootings multiplied, the horrific human cost was concealed (The Washington Post, Nov. 16, 2023)
The horrifying images are real. But they’re not from the Israel-Gaza war (The New York Times, Nov. 2, 2023)
Nuclear war could end the world, but what if it’s all in our heads? (The New York Times, Aug. 21, 2023)
5 Explorers Versus 500 Migrants: Why Compassion Doesn’t Scale (The Messenger, June 26, 2023)
Why 1 million dead from COVID is so hard for our brains to understand (PBS NewsHour, May 12, 2022)
What Happens When Americans Can Finally Exhale (The Atlantic, May 20, 2021)
Will we ever grasp the enormity of the pandemic? (Medium, March 10, 2021)
Opinion: The Science That Explains Trump’s Grip on White Males (Undark, Jan. 7, 2021)
Sneezed on, cussed at, ignored: Airline workers battle mask resistance with scant government backup (The Washington Post, Jan. 1, 2021)
As COVID Numbers Rise, So Does 'Psychic Numbing' (WebMD, Dec. 23, 2020)
Why Americans are numb to the staggering coronavirus death toll (The Washington Post, Dec. 21, 2020)
The Covid death toll is too big for Americans' brains to handle (MSNBC, Dec. 16, 2020)
Psychic numbing: Why rising death tolls no longer shock us (Grist, Dec. 11, 2020)
Why we're numb to 250,000 coronavirus deaths (Axios, Nov. 21, 2020)
Thanksgiving vs. ‘pandemic fatigue.’ Experts warn against letting your guard down against covid-19 during the holiday. (The Washington Post, Oct. 31, 2020)
‘Psychic numbing:’ When people stop giving a damn about the pandemic (Inquirer, Sept. 29, 2020)
Why our minds can't make sense of COVID-19's enormous death toll (National Geographic, Sept. 29, 2020)
Reopening schools and restarting the economy, done wrong, will be a disaster | Opinion (The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept. 2, 2020)
How our brains numb us to covid-19’s risks — and what we can do about it (The Washington Post, Aug. 22, 2020)
“I just feel rage”: 6 stories from around the world of surviving Covid-19 (Vox, July 1, 2020)
What makes people stop caring? (BBC, June 30, 2020)
California’s nightmare (Politico, June 30, 2020)
The importance of prior probabilities in coronavirus testing (Medium, May 19, 2020)
Worldwide threats are supposed to unify humanity. This pandemic has widened the rift. (The Salt Lake Tribune, May 17, 2020)
Views on guns, death penalty linked to harsh treatment of immigrants (Psych Central, May 1, 2020)
The American mindset was unprepared for a pandemic (The Atlantic, April 23, 2020)
UO study finds new links to dehumanization of immigrants (Around the O, April 23, 2020)
Managing coronavirus fears (The New York Times, April 13, 2020)
People often think with their gut. That's not ideal for a pandemic. (NBC News, April 9, 2020)
What the Coronavirus Curve Teaches Us About Climate Change (Politico, March, 26, 2020)
Quarantines for Coronavirus: Not in My Backyard (WebMD, Feb. 25, 2020)
Coronavirus ‘its all the hot buttons’ for how we misjudge risk' (The New York Times, Feb. 13, 2020)
Geoengineering’s gender problem could put the planet at risk (Wired, Dec. 18, 2019)
Trusting gut instincts to decide whether a military action is proportional opens a leader to psychological traps (The Conversation, July 3, 2019)
In news, when words fail, graphic and shocking photos often don't (USA Today, July 2, 2019)
What difference does one photo make? A lot, at first. Then not much. (Public Radio International, June 26, 2019)
How much power can one image actually have? (The Conversation, June 26, 2019)
Why it’s so hard to get people to care about mass suffering (Vox, Nov. 27, 2018)
In Yemen, many die, including this girl (The New York Times, Nov. 2, 2018)
Death of a journalist: Why Jamal Khashoggi's death garners more attention than others (Phoenix Public Radio, Oct. 22, 2018)
The death of a baby in Gaza is a tragedy. But it’s unfair to make her a political symbol (Quartz, May 17, 2018)
9 essential lessons from psychology to understand the Trump era (Vox, April 11, 2018)
After new wildfires, why would anyone live in California? (NBC News, Dec. 8, 2017) 
North Korea fears: Why you’re more afraid of getting the flu than getting bombed (Newsweek, Dec. 1, 2017)
Why do we ignore mass atrocities? An expert on psychic numbing explains. (Vox, July 19, 2017) 
Why we have different reactions to Manchester and Syria (Newsweek, May 23, 2017)
How much power can an image actually wield? (The Conversation, April 13, 2017)
A year after Aylan Kurdi’s tragic death, the world is still numb to the Syrian refugee crisis (Quartz, Sept. 2, 2016)
Where science ends and the GMO debate really begins (The Epoch Times, Aug. 22, 2016)
Climate change is genocide for island nations (The Register-Guard, July 31, 2016)
The arithmetic of compassion (The New York Times, Dec. 4, 2015)
Processing tragedy on a massive scale (WBEZ, Nov.19, 2015)
The huge paradox at the heart of how people think about environmental risks (The Washington Post, Nov. 4, 2015)
Why you don't really care about the next 'big one' (CityLab, July 21, 2015)
Why Charlie Hebdo gets more attention than Boko Haram (TIME, Jan. 15, 2015)
10 things you want to know about human nature if you’re fighting climate change (Grist, June 10, 2015)
Why your brain wants to help one child in need — but not millions (National Public Radio, Nov. 5, 2014)
Yes, our Ebola freakout is irrational. But there’s still a good reason to have the jitters. (The Washington Post, Oct. 27, 2015)
The psychology behind our collective Ebola freak-out (TIME, Oct. 20, 2014)
Experts offer steps for avoiding public hysteria, a different contagious threat (The New York Times, Oct. 15, 2014)
Becoming compassionately numb (The New York Times, Oct. 1, 2011)