Psychological Explanations about Why We Fear What We Fear --- and What We Can Do about It.

Tulsa, Oklahoma – Terrorism. Swine Flu. Sharks. The Y2K bug. Kidnappers who prey upon young children. There's lots and lots to be afraid of in this world --- but why is that the case? Especially given that, speaking both broadly and statistically, things in America and elsewhere seem to be getting better (and safer, and healthier) all the time. On our show today, we speak with the Canadian columnist and journalist Daniel Gardner. His new book, "The Science of Fear: How the Culture of Fear Manipulates Your Brain," is just out in paperback. In this work, Gardner explains the ample amount of new psychological scholarship surrounding the idea of risk-calculation. "The Science of Fear" describes the risks we take --- and choose not to take --- on a day-by-day as well as moment-by-moment basis, and thereby dissects the fears that misguide and manipulate us at all times in our lives. The book also has many solid points to make in the areas of media studies, political rhetoric, and cultural criticism.