☕️ 💦 Coffee Spillage Edition 
Welcome back to your Human Risk Newsletter filled with more lovingly-curated Behavioural Science (BeSci) inspired content. 
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Coming up in this edition
1. A plane that had to make an emergency landing showcases Human Risk in action;

2. Reactions to a warning siren failure illustrates a common Cognitive Bias
3. An art museum uses smart BeSci Interventions to increase visitor engagement and make visits more memorable;

4. A game that helps train people to spot potential sources of Fake News is Something that made me think; and

5. A new book that explores the importance of the Messenger is my Something for the weekend recommendation.

Human Risk in action

A plane that had to make an emergency landing due to a coffee spillage illustrates how poor design can induce human errors with often significant consequences.
An 11-hour flight from Frankfurt to Cancun had to declare an emergency mid-Atlantic and divert to Ireland after the captain spilt a cup of coffee over the flight console.
Although the aircraft manual recommends putting drinks in dedicated cup holders located away from the console, the pilot put his coffee on a foldout tray table while completing some paperwork.

The liquid landed on his radio, causing it (ACP1) to overheat and fail, and induced failure in the co-pilot's radio (ACP2):
On the face of it a simple story about pilot error.  But the reason, I'm featuring this story is because it highlights an important concept:  if we want people to behave in a certain way, then we need to build an environment that supports that, rather than simply relying on rules.  

This was reflected in the findings of the  Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) in their investigation of the incident, who considered behavioural dynamics in their review.

They noted, for example, that the size of the coffee cup used by the airline made using the designated holder more difficult and that this would "generally discourage" its use.  They also observed that the tray table used by the pilot was "convenient for storing things" and the fact that the airline chose not to supply lids, made accidents more likely.  

In other words, it wasn't simply a case of pilot error.  
To learn more about the incident, I recommend the surprisingly readable summary on pages 57-60 of the latest AAIB Bulletin.
Also on my Human Risk Radar:

An unexpected use of the LinkedIn “Give Kudos to Someone” feature.

The tale of a tourist in Iceland who joined a search party to look for a missing person, that turned out to be her!

An Economist article on Why the Mexico City Marathon attracts so many cheats which taught me that cheating at marathons is so commonplace, that there's even website, Marathon Investigation, dedicated to exposing incidents of it.
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Bi-Weekly Cognitive Bias

A failed tornado warning provides an illustration of how we sometimes place over-reliance on systems, when perhaps we really shouldn't.
Last week, three tornadoes struck the City of Sioux Falls (SF) in South Dakota in the middle of the night. Luckily there were no fatalities, but the impact was severe, as this image from drone footage illustrates:
Many SF residents complained at the lack of warning, noting that sirens had failed to go off in many parts of the City.  The Mayor of SF explained that this was down to human error and that new protocols were being put in place to prevent a reoccurrence.

More interesting from a Human Risk perspective, were some insights provided by local meteorologist Todd Heitkamp. He highlighted the fact that the siren system isn't designed to be a primary alert system; it's only supposed to notify those who are outdoors and therefore, most at risk. As the Fire Department website makes crystal clear.

Yet, because residents are used to hearing the sirens being tested, they become over-reliant on them and many don't make use of alternative warning systems, such as smartphone apps. 

This is a risky strategy. As Heitkamp neatly explains, the sirens 
are based on very old technology:

"Let’s put it this way. Would you yourself use something that was made back in world war two?  Probably not."
In other news from Sioux Falls, an alert has been issued for this man who escaped from custody where he was serving a 5-year sentence for unauthorized ingestion of a controlled substance:
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A BeSci Intervention

A modern art museum is using BeSci to increase visitor engagement and make visits more memorable.
I recently visited The Barnes Foundation a modern art museum in Philadelphia which contains 181 Renoirs (more than in any other collection), 69 Cézannes (more than in the whole of France) and 59 Matisses; astonishing for a museum, let alone something that was originally a private collection.

Respecting the wishes of the collector, Albert Barnes, it preserves the scale, proportion and configuration of the original collection.  In keeping with that, there are no signs.
While this makes for a unique experience, it's hard for first-time visitors to know whose pictures they are seeing.

To solve this, the Barnes has been undertaking BeSci and DataSci experiments to improve visitor engagement.  They tried audio guides but discovered that, perhaps surprisingly, that people spend less time looking at the art with an audio guide than without (88mins vs 110mins).

Now they've introduced a browser-based app that allows smartphone users to scan a particular picture and receive information about it on their handset:
This also resolves the challenge of lots of people trying to photograph the paintings in a confined space.  In common with many other museums, the Barnes used to ban it.  But that's irritating for visitors, who will probably try to regardless and distracts security staff from other duties.

So, using a BeSci principle of working with rather than against the grain of human thinking, if give them your email address, they'll also send you a link to professional snaps of the pictures you tagged during your visit.
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Something that made me think

Researchers looking into Fake News have discovered that teaching people about common techniques that are used to spread it, can make them less susceptible to believing it.
Psychologist Dr Sander van der Linden explores techniques we can use to fight the spread of misinformation.

His research suggests that we can help protect people against Fake News by teaching them about the techniques used to propagate it.

To do this, his team created an online game called Bad News which allows players to experiment with different misinformation techniques and learn how they work. Click on the image below to launch it.

Reader warning: being a proliferator of misinformation is more addictive than you might expect.
Van der Linden compares this approach to the way we physically vaccinate people against disease.  By teaching them what to look out for, we can "pre-bunk" misinformation before people have been persuaded by it, rather than "de-bunk" it afterwards.

To learn more about the techniques being pioneered by his team, I recommend this BBC article.
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Something for the weekend

A fascinating new book explores the critical role that messengers play in our decision-making.
Released later this week is a book called Messengers: Who We Listen To, Who We Don't and Why.  Described by an FT reviewer as zeitgeisty, it's a timely exploration by BeSci gurus Steve Martin and Joseph Marks, of one of the critical factors that influences our decision-making.  

In looking at this topic, the book answers questions such as:
Why are self-confident ignoramuses so often believed?

Why are thoughtful experts so often given the cold shoulder? 

Why do apparently irrelevant details such as a person’s height, their relative wealth, or their Facebook photo influence whether or not we trust what they are saying?
The Messengers website contains lots of fascinating content, including introductory videos and an online test that allows you to see what kind of messenger you are.
The book is released on 19 September. I've read an advanced copy and it is well worth your time.  

British Airways passengers should also make sure they check out Steve's regular BeSci column in the BA Business Life magazine.
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Incase you missed it...

Behavioral Grooves is a BeSci podcast that I've been enjoying for some time now. 

So I was delighted when hosts Tim Houlihan and Kurt Nelson asked me to join them to talk about Human Risk on 
Episode 86, which came out last week.
To hear the episode click here.  You can subscribe to Behavioral Grooves, wherever you get your podcasts.
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Coming soon...

Human Risk is on tour this week. US-based readers attending the 2019 Annual Compliance & Ethics Institute in Maryland can join me for a Human Risk session on Tuesday (609). 

If you can't make that, but will be there and want to meet up, then get in touch.
There is still time to sign up for October’s Risk Awareness Week: 5 days of free webinars covering a range of risk management topics. Featuring over 30 speakers, including:
Once registered you can attend sessions live or watch a playback at a time to suit you. 

That's it for this time. Don't forget that you can get regular BeSci updates by following @humanriskblog on Twitter and/or connecting with me on LinkedIn.


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The newsletter is brought to you by Human Risk, a Training & Consulting Firm that specialises in the deployment of BeSci in the fields of Risk, Compliance, Conduct and Culture
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