10. Specific risks are perceived as more
dangerous than more general risks

An experimental result in cognitive psychology is that stories with more details sound more plausible, even if its probability is lower than the general case and the entire story is made up. This is called the conjunction fallacy15. For example, “mutiny on a nuclear submarine” sounds more dangerous than “a large sea catastrophe,” though the former is a subcategory of the latter. Yudkowsky writes: “From the point of view of probability theory, adding more detail to the story makes it less likely… but in terms of human psychology, the addition of each new detail makes the story all the more credible.” Many people are not familiar with this basic logical and probabilistic truth, and focus instead on highly specific scenarios at the expense of more general concerns.