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Numeracy and Decision Making

Dr. Ellen Peters

Tuesday, September 19, 2006, 01:00pm - 02:00pm

Decision Research; University of Oregon, Department of Psychology

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Health, financial, and other important decisions often rely on understanding basic mathematical concepts, but little research has examined the theoretical mechanisms underlying the influence of numeracy on decisions. Results of a series of studies are consistent with high-numerate individuals being more likely than the less numerate to retrieve and use appropriate numerical principles and to draw more affective meaning from numbers. The less numerate appear to be influenced more by less relevant affective sources. Less numerate individuals appear to be left with less complete information that lacks the complexity and richness available to the more numerate. Actual number ability matters to judgments and decisions in important ways.

Dr. Ellen Peters