Ratios in Health Reasoning

We are inundated with ratios, like fractions, decimals and percentages, and everyday life that should help us make informed decisions about what to do, how, and when.

This has been highlighted for many of us during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – how can we reason about how severe COVID is? Perhaps by thinking about % mortality rate or hospitalization rate. How can we decide whether our communities, workplaces, or schools are “safe”? Perhaps by reasoning about % positivity rates or % vaccination rates.

In a series of studies with Drs. Clarissa Thompson, Jen Taber, Karin Coifman, Percival Matthews and many other fantastic collaborators, I have been examining how math cognition bears on issues of health reasoning.

Here’s a link to our popular press article published at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic: https://theconversation.com/math-misconceptions-may-lead-people-to-underestimate-the-true-threat-of-covid-19-134520

Here’s a link to a preprint version of an in-press paper on math cognition & COVID-related reasoning: https://psyarxiv.com/hukyv/