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Verbal and numerical expressions of probability: ’It’s fifty-fifty chance’. (English)
Organ. Behav. Hum. Decis. Process. 81, No. 1, 115-131 (2000).
When estimating risks, people may use ’50’ as an expression of the verbal phrase ’fifty-fifty chance’, without intending the associated number of 50\%. The result is an excess of 50 s in the response distribution. The present study examined factors determining the magnitude of such a ’50 blip’, using a large sample of adolescents and adults. We found that phrasing probability questions in a distributional format (asking about risks as a percentage in a population) rather than in a singular format (asking about risks to an individual) reduced to use of ’50’. Less numerate respondents, children, and less educated adults were more likely to say ’50’. Finally, events that evoked feelings of less perceived control led to more 50 s. The results are discussed in terms.
Classification: K50
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