Making reference to more than 40 years of scientific research, this paper identifies some key areas of psychological knowledge that are at the heart of how people assess risk and make decisions in real-time: most importantly the difference between "System 1" and "System 2" styles of thinking. Drawing on two incidents and the use of Risk Assessment Matrices as illustration, the paper demonstrates how psychological knowledge can provide deep understanding of the choices people make and the actions they take when they are faced with assessing risk and making decisions in real-time under operational conditions. The paper goes beyond what has previously been published in industry forums in identifying and explaining some of the relevant psychological knowledge, as well as illustrating a few of its operational implications.

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