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Eye-tracking evidence for fixation asymmetries in verbal and numerical quantifier processing

Holford, Dawn Liu and Juanchich, Marie and Foulsham, Tom and Sirota, Miroslav and Clarke, Alasdair DF (2021) 'Eye-tracking evidence for fixation asymmetries in verbal and numerical quantifier processing.' Judgment and Decision Making, 16 (4). pp. 969-1009. ISSN 1930-2975

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When people are given quantified information (e.g., ‘there is a 60% chance of rain’), the format of quantifiers (i.e., numerical: ‘a 60% chance’ vs. verbal: ‘it is likely’) might affect their decisions. Previous studies with indirect cues of judgements and decisions (e.g., response times, decision outcomes) give inconsistent findings that could support either a more intuitive process for verbal than numerical quantifiers or a greater focus on the context (e.g., rain) for verbal than numerical quantifiers. We used two pre-registered eye-tracking experiments (n(1) = 148, n(2) = 133) to investigate decision-making processes with verbal and numerical quantifiers. Participants eval-uated multiple verbally or numerically quantified nutrition labels (Experiment 1) and weather forecasts (Experiment 2) with different context valence (positive or negative), and quantities (‘low’, ‘medium’, or ‘high’ in Experiment 1 and ‘possible’, ‘likely’, or ‘very likely’ in Experiment 2) presented in a fully within-subjects design. Participants looked longer at verbal than numerical quantifiers, and longer at the contextual information with verbal quantifiers. Quantifier format also affected judgements and decisions: in Experiment 1, participants judged positive labels to be better in the verbal compared to the equivalent numerical condition (and to be worse for negative labels). In Experiment 2, participants decided on rain protection more for a verbal forecast of rain than the equivalent numerical forecast. The results fit the explanation that verbal quantifiers put more focus on the informational context than do numerical quantifiers, rather than prompting more intuitive decisions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: eye-tracking; verbal quantifiers; numerical quantifiers; process-tracing
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2021 10:19
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:26

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