The experience‐based format of probability improves probability estimates: The moderating role of individual differences in numeracy

Jakub Traczyk , Agata Sobków , Adrian Matukiewicz , Dafina Petrova , Rocio Garcia-Retamero


People with low statistical numeracy have difficulties understanding numerical information. For instance, they often misunderstand the probability of experiencing side effects, which could reduce adherence to medical treatments. We investigated whether presenting information about probability using a method based on the direct experience of events influences the accuracy of probability estimates compared to viewing a static numerical description of the same information. Participants completed a numeracy test and were randomly assigned to one of two conditions. In the description-based probability condition, participants were presented with 24 binomial distributions consisting of a target stimulus “X” and a distractor stimulus “⋅” in the form of odds (the distribution “7 × 13 ⋅” is an example of a 35% probability: here the target [distractor] stimulus was present 7[13] times in a 20-stimulus distribution). In the experience-based probability condition, participants observed the same information but the stimuli were randomly arranged and displayed sequentially. Participants in both conditions estimated the probability of the target stimulus in each trial. In the experience-based format participants with low numeracy made more accurate probability estimates in comparison to the description-based format. In contrast, accuracy in participants with high numeracy was similar in the two formats.
Author Jakub Traczyk (Filia we Wrocławiu / Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Jakub Traczyk,,
- Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
, Agata Sobków (Filia we Wrocławiu / Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Agata Sobków,,
- Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
, Adrian Matukiewicz
Adrian Matukiewicz,,
, Dafina Petrova
Dafina Petrova,,
, Rocio Garcia-Retamero
Rocio Garcia-Retamero,,
Journal seriesInternational Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0020-7594, e-ISSN 1464-066X, (N/A 70 pkt)
Issue year2019
Keywords in EnglishNumeracy; Experience-based probability estimates; Natural frequencies; Numerical abilities; Experience versus description
ASJC Classification2700 General Medicine; 1201 Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous); 3200 General Psychology
Languageen angielski
The experience_oswiadczenie_Sobkow.pdf 33.18 KB
The experience_oswiadczenie_Traczyk.pdf 33.69 KB
The experience_tekst.pdf 519.61 KB
Score (nominal)70
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 1.012; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 1.867 (2) - 2017=2.287 (5)
Citation count*3 (2020-05-17)
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