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Maintaining credibility when communicating uncertainty: The role of communication format

Jenkins, SC; Harris, AJL; Lark, RM; (2017) Maintaining credibility when communicating uncertainty: The role of communication format. In: Gunzelmann, G and Howes, A and Tenbrink, T and Davelaar, E, (eds.) CogSci 2017: Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. pp. 582-587). Cognitive Science Society: London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

Research into risk communication has commonly highlighted the disparity between the meaning intended by the communicator and what is understood by the recipient. Such miscommunications will have implications for perceived trust and expertise of the communicator, but it is not known whether this differs according to the communication format. We examined the effect of using verbal, numerical and mixed communication formats on perceptions of credibility and correctness, as well as whether they influenced a decision to evacuate, both before and after an ‘erroneous’ prediction (i.e. an ‘unlikely’ event occurs, or a ‘likely’ event does not occur). We observed no effect of communication format on any of the measures pre-outcome, but found the numerical format was perceived as less incorrect, as well as more credible than the other formats after an ‘erroneous’ prediction, but only when low probability expressions were used. Our findings suggest numbers should be used in consequential risk communications.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Maintaining credibility when communicating uncertainty: The role of communication format
Event: 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017)
Location: London, UK
ISBN-13: 9780991196760
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2017/
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: verbal probability expressions; numerical probabilities; risk communication; trust; expertise; credibility
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10039458
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