IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Risk communication with pictographs: The role of numeracy and graph processing

  • Rebecca Hess
  • Vivianne H. M. Visschers
  • Michael Siegrist
Registered author(s):

    We conducted three studies to investigate how well pictographs communicate medical screening information to persons with higher and lower numeracy skills. In Study 1, we conducted a 2 (probability level: higher vs. lower) x 2 (reference information: yes vs. no) x 2 (subjective numeracy: higher vs. lower) between-subjects design. Persons with higher numeracy skills were influenced by probability level but not by reference information. Persons with lower numeracy tended to differentiate between a higher and a lower probability when there was no reference information. Study 2 consisted of interviews about the mental processing of pictographs. Higher numeracy was associated with counting the icons and relying on numbers depicted in the graph. Study 3 was an experiment with the same design as in Study 1, but, rather than using reference information, we varied the sequence of task type (counting first vs. non-counting first) to explore the role of the focus on numerical information. Persons with lower numeracy differentiated between higher and lower risk only when they were in the non-counting first condition. Task sequence did not influence the risk perceptions of persons with higher numeracy. In sum, our results suggest that pictographs may be useful for persons with higher and lower numeracy. However, these groups seem to process the graph differently. Persons with higher numeracy rely more on the numerical information depicted in the graph, whereas persons with lower numeracy seem to be confused when they are guided towards these numbers.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Society for Judgment and Decision Making in its journal Judgment and Decision Making.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (April)
    Pages: 263-274

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:6:y:2011:i:3:p:263-274
    Contact details of provider:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:6:y:2011:i:3:p:263-274. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jonathan Baron)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.