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Differences between decisions made using verbal or numerical quantifiers

Liu, Dawn and Juanchich, Marie and Sirota, Miroslav and Orbell, Sheina (2021) 'Differences between decisions made using verbal or numerical quantifiers.' Thinking and Reasoning, 27 (1). pp. 69-96. ISSN 1354-6783

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Past research suggests that people process verbal quantifiers differently from numerical ones, but this suggestion has yet to be formally tested. Drawing from traditional correlates of dual-process theories, we investigated whether people process verbal quantifiers faster, less accurately, and with less subjective effort than numerical quantifiers. In two pre-registered experiments, participants decided whether a quantity (either verbal or numerical) of a nutrient, summed with a pictorial quantity, exceeded a recommended total. The verbal quantifiers were matched to average numerical translations (Experiment 1) as well as translations from participants themselves (Experiment 2). Across experiments, participants did not answer faster or find verbal quantifiers less effortful than numerical ones, but they made less accurate decisions on average with verbal quantifiers because they used more context-based decision shortcuts (e.g., ‘minerals are healthy’). Our findings suggest that it is how much people rely on context that distinguishes their decisions with verbal and numerical quantifiers.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: verbal quantifiers; numerical quantifiers; processing styles; dual-process theory; decision context
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2020 15:39
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:09

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