Sunday, 27 November 2011

Of Some Really Worrying Stats

It's really sad news about Gary Speed former coach of Wales national team. I always feel deeply sorry for those surrounding suicide victims who must go through all sorts of turmoil asking themselves what if anything they could have been done to prevent the tragedy.

I'm reading a fascinating book at the moment called "The Psychology of Influence". Oddly, a chapter I was reading last night deals with suicide and in particular how the suicide rate rises in a community whenever a local paper features news of a suicide on its front pages. According to the author research indicates firmly that following a well publicised suicide you can expect a good few copy cat suicides to follow. He was able to point to firm evidence that whenever a pilot takes his life through a deliberate accident there's a spike of suicides from other pilots doing the same. According to one web site report during the period 1993-2002 in the states 16 pilots committed suicide with one actually exiting out the door mid air. So convinced is Cialdini of the stats that he tries hard not to travel by air whenever news of a pilot suicide has just made the headlines.

At University I often wondered of the value of the so called "soft" sciences and how much of real value they contribute to the improvement of the human race. Work such as that above has me thinking otherwise.

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