Communication of uncertainty in weather forecasts
Experimental economics methods were used to assess public understanding of information in weather forecasts and test whether the participants were able to make better decisions using the probabilistic information presented in table or bar graph formats than if they are presented with a deterministic forecast. We asked undergraduate students from the University of Exeter to choose the most probable temperature outcome between a set of “lotteries” based on the temperature up to five days ahead. If they choose a true statement, participants were rewarded with a cash reward. Results indicate that on average participants provided with uncertainty information make better decisions than those without. Statistical analysis indicates a possible learning effect as the experiment progressed. Furthermore, participants who were shown the graph with uncertainty information took on average less response time compared to those who were shown a table with uncertainty information.
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