Paul Slovic, a founder and President of Decision Research and Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon, studies human judgment, decision making, and risk analysis. He and his colleagues worldwide have developed methods to describe risk perceptions and measure their impacts on individuals, industry, and society. He publishes extensively and serves as a consultant to industry and government. Dr. Slovic is a past President of the Society for Risk Analysis and in 1991 received its Distinguished Contribution Award. In 1993 he received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association. In 1995 he received the Outstanding Contribution to Science Award from the Oregon Academy of Science. He has received honorary doctorates from the Stockholm School of Economics (1996) and the University of East Anglia (2005). Dr. Slovic was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2016.

Curriculum Vitae

Publications and presentations regarding our work on mass suffering, psychic numbing, and Darfur are available here.


What a year of fear has done to our brains. Interview with Paul Slovic in The Telegraph by Caroline Williams. June 21, 2021.

Learning from NEWater. Presentation by Linda Macpherson of New Water Resources delivered to water utility representatives in Australia on April 26, 2021. The presentation details how Paul Slovic’s research on stigma has influenced New Water Resources’ communication strategies regarding recycled water.

The Arithmetic of Compassion: How Psychology and Literature Help Explain the Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Interview with Paul Slovic and Scott Slovic by Colleen Barry. April 16, 2021.

Numbers and Numbing with Dr. Paul Slovic. Interview on The Decision Education Podcast, hosted by Joe Sweeney. March 24, 2021.

Afraid of the Wrong Things. Interview with Paul Slovic on the podcast Hidden Brain. Available on various podcast platforms, such as Spotify.

Why has apathy taken hold amid huge COVID-19 death toll? Interview with Paul Slovic on The World by Amanda McGowan. January 11, 2021.

Opinion: The Science That Explains Trump’s Grip on White Males. Interview with Paul Slovic in Undark by Catherine Buni and Soraya Chemaly. January 7, 2021.

As COVID Numbers Rise, So Does ‘Psychic Numbing.’ Interview with Paul Slovic in WebMD Health News by Kathleen Doheny. December 23, 2020.

Why Americans are numb to the staggering coronavirus death toll. Interview with Paul Slovic in The Washington Post by William Wan and Brittany Shammas. December 21, 2020.

‘Psychic numbing:’ When people stop giving a damn about the pandemic. Interview with Paul Slovic in by Tony S. Bergonia. September 29, 2020.

Reopening schools and restarting the economy, done wrong, will be a disaster. Op-ed by Howard Kunreuther, Paul Slovic, and Harvey Rubin in The Philadelphia Inquirer. September 2, 2020.

The more who die, the less we care. Summary of Paul Slovic’s keynote address at the British Psychological Society’s online conference by Jon Sutton. August 25, 2020.

Here’s why people care less as more people die and how that impacts the COVID-19 pandemic. Interview with Paul Slovic by Andrew Dorn in KGW. August 11, 2020.

What makes people stop caring? Interview with Paul Slovic by Tiffanie Wen in BBC. June 30, 2020.

The Backstory: A 5-year-old Detroit girl died of coronavirus this week. It’s important you know her story, and so many more. Interview with Paul Slovic by Nicole Carroll in USA Today. April 24, 2020.

Humans Are Too Optimistic to Comprehend the Coronavirus. Interview with Paul Slovic by Olga Khazan in The Atlantic. April 23, 2020.

The More Who Die, the Less We Care: Confronting the Deadly Arithmetic of Compassion. Presentation at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making. Portland, Oregon. October 21, 2019.

The Dissenter Episode No. 193: Risk Perception, GMOs, Vaccines, And Climate Change. Interview with Paul Slovic by Ricardo Lopes. June 21, 2019.

What difference does one photo make? A lot, at first. Then not much. Interview with Paul Slovic in PRI’s The World. June 26, 2019.

The More Who Die, the Less We Care: Confronting Genocide and the Deadly Arithmetic of Compassion. Talk by Paul Slovic at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education on May 9, 2019. Part 1. Part 2.

Silent wars: Why we don’t pay attention to the world’s worst violence. Video interview with Paul Slovic on the singularity effect and why people ignore humanitarian catastrophes. By Emanuela Campanella. Global News. January 24, 2019.

Why it’s so hard to get people to care about mass suffering. Article on Paul Slovic’s work on psychic numbing in Vox by Brian Resnick. November 27, 2018.

Relief efforts want money. So why do we insist on donating canned goods? Interview with Paul Slovic in Vox. November 15, 2018.

Another Mass Shooting? ‘Compassion Fatigue’ Is A Natural Reaction. Interview with Paul Slovic on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. November 9, 2018.

To Sway Science Skeptics, First Listen to Them. Profile of Paul Slovic’s work on risk perception by Anita Makri in Undark Magazine. October 18, 2018.

Homo Empaticus. Episode 7 of the podcast Beslutsbotanikerna (Decision Botanists) by Daniel Västfjäll and Gustav Tinghög. Interview of Paul Slovic by Daniel Västfjäll. September 27, 2018.

The More Who Die, the Less We Care: Confronting the Deadly Arithmetic of Compassion. Talk delivered at the University of British Columbia School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. September 28, 2018.

Why it’s so hard to get people to care about humanitarian crisis. Interview with Milena Mikael-Debass in Vice News. August 23, 2018.

Think Small. Podcast interview on The Arthur Brooks Show. August 23, 2018.

The more who die, the less we care: Confronting genocide and the numbing arithmetic of compassion. Talk delivered at TEDxKakumaCamp, Kakuma, Kenya, June 9, 2018.

The Arithmetic of Compassion. Website founded by Paul Slovic which investigates psychic numbing, pseudoinefficacy, and other psychological barriers to compassion.

The limits of compassion don’t add up. Profile of Paul Slovic’s work on psychic numbing in The Register-Guard by Carolyn Kortge. March 18, 2018.

Why you’re numb to the horrors in Syria, according to an empathy researcher. Interview with Susie Poppick in Mic on why people are indifferent to the atrocities in Syria. February 21, 2018.

Mass Shootings and the Limits of Human Compassion. Article by Brian Resnick in Vox that analyzes the public’s reaction to mass shootings using Paul Slovic’s work on psychic numbing. February 15, 2018.

North Korea Fears: Why You’re More Afraid of Getting the Flu Than Getting Bombed, Interview by Dana Dovey in Newsweek on the North Korean nuclear threat and psychic numbing. December 1, 2017

A Psychologist Explains the Limits of Human Compassion, interview by Brian Resnick in Vox on psychic numbing and the limits of compassion. July 19, 2017.

Head and Heart: Paul Slovic’s Quest to Make Compassion Count, profile on Paul Slovic’s work in Oregon Quarterly by Stephen Phillips. June 2017.

Profile in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. March 6, 2017.

We’re Bad at Feeling Compassion for Large Groups, Says Psychology Professor, Interview on The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti, January 13, 2017

Statistical Numbing with Paul Slovic, interview on Data Stories podcast with Enrico Bertini & Moritz Stefaner. October 6, 2016.

Paul Slovic elected to the National Academy of Sciences. May 3, 2016.

Confronting the Arithmetic of Compassion: Decision Making and the World’s Most Urgent Problems, Interview on WCBN-FM Ann Arbor program, It’s Hot in Here. April 29, 2016.

Numbers and Nerves: Addressing the Arithmetic of Compassion and the World’s Most Urgent Issues, Talk at the University of Oregon with Scott Slovic. April 19, 2016.

Tribute to Paul Slovic at the 2016 Society for Judgment and Decision Making Conference.

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