Multiple numeric competencies predict decision outcomes beyond fluid intelligence and cognitive reflection

Agata Sobków , Angelika Olszewska , Jakub Traczyk


The goal of the present study was to compare the relative contribution of different cognitive abilities and preferences to superior decision making. Additionally, we aimed to test hether skilled decision makers have better and more sophisticated long-term memory representations of personally meaningful risky situations. A large sample from the general population completed a series of tasks and questionnaires measuring cognitive abilities and preferences (fluid ntelligence, cognitive reflection, and multiple numeric competencies: statistical numeracy, subjective numeracy, approximate numeracy) and decision making outcomes (a set of monetary lotteries and a self-report inventory measuring success in avoiding negative decision outcomes in real-life). We also designed a memory task in which participants were instructed to discriminate between decision outcomes presented in the first stage of the study and distractors. We found that multiple numeric competencies predicted decision making beyond fluid intelligence and cognitive reflection. Especially, the acuity of symbolic-number mapping (a measure of approximate numeracy) was the most robust single predictor of superior decision making. Moreover, a combination of different cognitive abilities contributed to a better understanding of decision outcomes. For example, superior decision making in monetary lotteries was best predicted by approximate numeracy, statistical numeracy, and fluid intelligence, while avoiding negative decision outcomes in real-life was best predicted by approximate and subjective numeracy. Finally, we demonstrated that people with high approximate numeracy had better memory for decision outcomes and produced more vivid mental representations, suggesting that memory processes can be crucial to superior decision making.
Author Agata Sobków (Filia we Wrocławiu / Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Agata Sobków,,
- Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
, Angelika Olszewska (Filia we Wrocławiu / II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Angelika Olszewska,,
- II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
, Jakub Traczyk (Filia we Wrocławiu / Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Jakub Traczyk,,
- Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
Journal seriesIntelligence, ISSN 0160-2896, e-ISSN 1873-7935, (N/A 140 pkt)
Issue year2020
Publication size in sheets0.65
Article number101452
Keywords in EnglishNumeracy; Fluid intelligence; Multiple numeric competencies; Decision making; Memory Cognitive reflection
ASJC Classification1201 Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous); 3204 Developmental and Educational Psychology; 3205 Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Languageen angielski
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Score (nominal)140
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 1.43; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 2.785 (2) - 2017=2.876 (5)
Citation count*10 (2021-01-16)
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