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The impact of numeracy on reactions to different graphic risk presentation formats: An experimental analogue study

The impact of numeracy on reactions to different graphic risk presentation formats: An experimental analogue study
The impact of numeracy on reactions to different graphic risk presentation formats: An experimental analogue study
Objectives: numeracy, the ability to process basic mathematical concepts, may affect responses to graphical displays of health risk information. Displays of probabilistic risk information using grouped dots are easier to understand than displays using dispersed dots. However, dispersed dots may better convey the randomness with which health threats occur, so increasing perceived susceptibility. We hypothesized that low numeracy participants would better understand risks presented using grouped dot displays, while high numeracy participants would have good understanding, regardless of display type. Moreover, we predicted that dispersed dot displays, in contrast to grouped dot displays, would increase risk perceptions and worry only for highly numerate individuals.

Design and method: one hundred and forty smokers read vignettes asking them to imagine being at risk of Crohn's disease, in a 2(display type: dispersed/grouped dots)×3(risk magnitude: 3%/6%/50%)×2(numeracy: high/low) design. They completed measures of risk comprehension, perceived susceptibility and worry.

Results: more numerate participants had better objective risk comprehension, but this effect was not moderated by display type. There was marginally significant support for the predicted numeracy × display type interaction for worry about Crohn's disease, but not for perceived susceptibility to the condition.

Conclusions: dispersed dot displays somewhat increase worry in highly numerate individuals, but only numeracy influenced objective risk comprehension. The most effective display type for communicating risk information will depend on the numeracy of the population and the goal(s) of the communication
1359-107X
107-125
Wright, Alison J.
158f7014-ab90-408e-94b1-49bcd2ca8ceb
Whitwell, Sophia C. L.
481a0bc6-5ebd-483d-afaf-013dd86ab76b
Takeichi, Chika
611690db-3682-455b-affc-628292d504ca
Hankins, Matthew
ce4b7d68-3320-4af4-9dd7-3537a4b07219
Marteau, Theresa M.
b0519138-0d20-419c-8bd2-99afb591cc07
Wright, Alison J.
158f7014-ab90-408e-94b1-49bcd2ca8ceb
Whitwell, Sophia C. L.
481a0bc6-5ebd-483d-afaf-013dd86ab76b
Takeichi, Chika
611690db-3682-455b-affc-628292d504ca
Hankins, Matthew
ce4b7d68-3320-4af4-9dd7-3537a4b07219
Marteau, Theresa M.
b0519138-0d20-419c-8bd2-99afb591cc07

Wright, Alison J., Whitwell, Sophia C. L., Takeichi, Chika, Hankins, Matthew and Marteau, Theresa M. (2009) The impact of numeracy on reactions to different graphic risk presentation formats: An experimental analogue study. British Journal of Health Psychology, 14 (1), 107-125. (doi:10.1348/135910708X304432).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objectives: numeracy, the ability to process basic mathematical concepts, may affect responses to graphical displays of health risk information. Displays of probabilistic risk information using grouped dots are easier to understand than displays using dispersed dots. However, dispersed dots may better convey the randomness with which health threats occur, so increasing perceived susceptibility. We hypothesized that low numeracy participants would better understand risks presented using grouped dot displays, while high numeracy participants would have good understanding, regardless of display type. Moreover, we predicted that dispersed dot displays, in contrast to grouped dot displays, would increase risk perceptions and worry only for highly numerate individuals.

Design and method: one hundred and forty smokers read vignettes asking them to imagine being at risk of Crohn's disease, in a 2(display type: dispersed/grouped dots)×3(risk magnitude: 3%/6%/50%)×2(numeracy: high/low) design. They completed measures of risk comprehension, perceived susceptibility and worry.

Results: more numerate participants had better objective risk comprehension, but this effect was not moderated by display type. There was marginally significant support for the predicted numeracy × display type interaction for worry about Crohn's disease, but not for perceived susceptibility to the condition.

Conclusions: dispersed dot displays somewhat increase worry in highly numerate individuals, but only numeracy influenced objective risk comprehension. The most effective display type for communicating risk information will depend on the numeracy of the population and the goal(s) of the communication

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Published date: February 2009

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 187345
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/187345
ISSN: 1359-107X
PURE UUID: 63eb9f5c-00c0-4226-940e-eeec94a57473

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Date deposited: 17 May 2011 14:09
Last modified: 19 Jul 2019 23:00

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