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Risk management
Risk management

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6 Human factor elements in risk identification

As with many other areas of life your view of matters is often limited by your perspective, and getting a diverse perspective on the risk means identifying risks that might otherwise remain hidden. The following activity demonstrates this.

Activity 5 Say what you see

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Now take a look at the video below and count the number of times the red clipboard is passed to another person.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 2 How many times is the red file passed?
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Video 2 How many times is the red file passed?
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


In the first clip did you notice the mouse? No? Replay the clip and this time look for the mouse. Studies have found that about 30% of people who watch videos set up like this experiment failed to spot the mouse (or similar; the original test had a person dressed in a gorilla suit). The authors of the original experiment have concluded that most people believe they will notice something that is visible and distinctive but their experiments have shown that these intuitions can often be wrong. It is important to recognise these blind spots so that measures can be put in place to mitigate them.

Look at the picture and write down what you see here.

This is an image of the back of a woman looking away from the camera.
Figure 2


In the picture in the second example did you see the old woman? Perhaps you saw the young woman? Take another look. The key thing to note here is that not everyone sees the same thing, and even different people looking at the same thing don’t always agree on what they see.