Research Repository

I am uncertain” vs “it is uncertain”. How linguistic markers of the uncertainty source affect uncertainty communication

Juanchich, M and Gourdon-Kanhukamwe, A and Sirota, M (2017) 'I am uncertain” vs “it is uncertain”. How linguistic markers of the uncertainty source affect uncertainty communication.' Judgment and Decision Making, 12 (5). 445 - 465. ISSN 1930-2975

jdm17309.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (309kB) | Preview


Two psychological sources of uncertainty bear implications for judgment and decision-making: external uncertainty is seen as stemming from properties of the world, whereas internal uncertainty is seen as stemming from lack of knowledge. The apparent source of uncertainty can be conveyed through linguistic markers, such as the pronoun of probability phrases (e.g., I am uncertain vs. It is uncertain). Here, we investigated whether and when speakers use different pronoun subjects as such linguistic markers (Exp. 1 and 2) and what hearers infer from them (Exp. 3 and 4). Speakers more often described higher probabilities and knowable outcomes with internal probability phrases. In dialogue, speakers mirrored the source of their conversational partner. Markers of the source had a main effect or interacted with the probability conveyed and speaker expertise to shape the judgments and decisions of hearers. For example, experts voicing an internal probability phrase were judged as more knowledgeable than experts using an external probability phrase whereas the result was the opposite for lay speakers. We discuss how these findings inform our understanding of subjective uncertainty and uncertainty communication theories.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2017 14:47
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2021 12:15

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item