From Bruce Schneier’s “Movie Plot Threat Contest: Status Report“:
In my book, Beyond Fear, I discusse five different tendencies people have to exaggerate risks: to believe that something is more risky than it actually is.
1. People exaggerate spectacular but rare risks and downplay common risks.
2. People have trouble estimating risks for anything not exactly like their normal situation.
3. Personified risks are perceived to be greater than anonymous risks.
4. People underestimate risks they willingly take and overestimate risks in situations they can’t control.
5. People overestimate risks that are being talked about and remain an object of public scrutiny.