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The effect of iconicity of visual displays on statistical reasoning: Evidence in favor of the null hypothesis

Sirota, M and Kostovičová, L and Juanchich, M (2014) 'The effect of iconicity of visual displays on statistical reasoning: Evidence in favor of the null hypothesis.' Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 21 (4). 961 - 968. ISSN 1069-9384

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Knowing which properties of visual displays facilitate statistical reasoning bears practical and theoretical implications. Therefore, we studied the effect of one property of visual diplays - iconicity (i.e., the resemblance of a visual sign to its referent) - on Bayesian reasoning. Two main accounts of statistical reasoning predict different effect of iconicity on Bayesian reasoning. The ecological-rationality account predicts a positive iconicity effect, because more highly iconic signs resemble more individuated objects, which tap better into an evolutionary-designed frequency-coding mechanism that, in turn, facilitates Bayesian reasoning. The nested-sets account predicts a null iconicity effect, because iconicity does not affect the salience of a nested-sets structure-the factor facilitating Bayesian reasoning processed by a general reasoning mechanism. In two well-powered experiments (N = 577), we found no support for a positive iconicity effect across different iconicity levels that were manipulated in different visual displays (meta-analytical overall effect: log OR = -0.13, 95 % CI [-0.53, 0.28]). A Bayes factor analysis provided strong evidence in favor of the null hypothesis-the null iconicity effect. Thus, these findings corroborate the nested-sets rather than the ecological-rationality account of statistical reasoning. © 2013 Psychonomic Society, Inc.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2015 11:55
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2019 16:22

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