Transparent Communication of Health Risks

Overcoming Cultural Differences

  • Rocio Garcia-Retamero
  • Mirta Galesic

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Mirta Galesic, Rocio Garcia-Retamero
    Pages 1-12
  3. Cultural Differences in Health Literacy and the Understanding of Health-Related Risks

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 13-13
    2. Mirta Galesic, Rocio Garcia-Retamero
      Pages 15-28
    3. Edward T. Cokely, Saima Ghazal, Mirta Galesic, Rocio Garcia-Retamero, Eric Schulz
      Pages 29-52
    4. Mirta Galesic, Rocio Garcia-Retamero
      Pages 53-65
    5. Gerd Gigerenzer, Jutta Mata, Ronald Frank
      Pages 67-78
    6. Jutta Mata, Ronald Frank, Gerd Gigerenzer
      Pages 79-96
  4. Transparent Communication of Health-Related Risks Across Cultures

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 97-97
    2. Mirta Galesic, Rocio Garcia-Retamero
      Pages 99-118
    3. Mirta Galesic, Rocio Garcia-Retamero
      Pages 119-129
    4. Rocio Garcia-Retamero, Mirta Galesic
      Pages 131-144
    5. Rocio Garcia-Retamero, Mirta Galesic, Mandeep K. Dhami
      Pages 145-164
    6. Rocio Garcia-Retamero, Edward T. Cokely, Mirta Galesic
      Pages 165-191
  5. Overcoming Cultural Differences in Decision Making About Health

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 193-193
    2. Stephanie M. Müller, Nicolai Bodemer, Yasmina Okan, Rocio Garcia-Retamero, Angela Neumeyer-Gromen
      Pages 195-213
    3. Mirta Galesic, Rocio Garcia-Retamero
      Pages 215-225
  6. Conclusions and Appendix

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 227-227
    2. Rocio Garcia-Retamero, Mirta Galesic
      Pages 229-238
    3. Rocio Garcia-Retamero, Mirta Galesic
      Pages 239-264
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 265-269

About this book


Recent research in health decision making has shown that many patients, even those with a college education, have difficulties grasping a host of numerical concepts, including percentages and probabilities. Yet, basic numeracy and graph literacy are essential for understanding information relevant to making decisions about health, such as the incidence and prevalence of different diseases, risk reductions from medical screenings and treatments, and risk increases from side effects of treatments and unhealthy behaviors. Patients who have problems understanding such numerical concepts are often prone to errors in risk perception and medical choices. Importantly, informed medical decision making, heavily reinforced these days by the legal requirement for informed consent, depends critically on communication of quantitative medical information. Meeting the challenge of effectively communicating medical information to patients with different levels of numeracy and graph literacy has become more important than ever.


Transparent Communication of Health Risks describes a series of cross-cultural studies investigating how people in countries with different medical and educational systems understand numerical and graphical information, what they know about existing medical treatments and screenings, which presentation formats help them better understand the relevant information, and how they use the data to make medical decisions. Focusing on the careful measurement of necessary knowledge and skills, the book also includes validated numeracy and graph literacy scales in English, Spanish, and German. Some of the topics covered in the book are:

  • numeracy and graph literacy for health;
  • measuring risk comprehension in educated samples;
  • communicating information about medical treatment and screening;
  • reducing the effect of framed messages about health;
  • the effect of individual differences on shared decision making; and
  • transparent health information in the media.

Transparent Communication of Health Risks emphasizes the importance and value of working toward the development of tailored risk communication interventions and clarifies the tasks ahead for health psychologists, public health professionals, pharmaceutical and medical education companies, medical physicists, and nurses.


diabetes health outcomes medical treatment risk communication screening for breast cancer screening for prostate cancer transparency

Editors and affiliations

  • Rocio Garcia-Retamero
    • 1
  • Mirta Galesic
    • 2
  1. 1.Campus Universitario de Cartuja, Departmento de Psicologia ExperimentalUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2., Ctr for Adaptive Behavior and CognitionMax Planck Institute for Human Dev.BerlinGermany

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013
  • Publisher Name Springer, New York, NY
  • eBook Packages Medicine
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4614-4357-5
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4614-4358-2
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Health & Hospitals
Public Health