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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10481/37230

Title: Visual aids improve diagnostic inferences and metacognitive judgment calibration
Authors: García-Retamero, Rocío
Cokely, Edward T.
Hoffrage, Ulrich
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: Visual aids can improve comprehension of risks associated with medical treatments, screenings, and lifestyles. Do visual aids also help decision makers accurately assess their risk comprehension? That is, do visual aids help them become well calibrated? To address these questions, we investigated the benefits of visual aids displaying numerical information and measured accuracy of self-assessment of diagnostic inferences (i.e., metacognitive judgment calibration) controlling for individual differences in numeracy. Participants included 108 patients who made diagnostic inferences about three medical tests on the basis of information about the sensitivity and false-positive rate of the tests and disease prevalence. Half of the patients received the information in numbers without a visual aid, while the other half received numbers along with a grid representing the numerical information. In the numerical condition, many patients–especially those with low numeracy–misinterpreted the predictive value of the tests and profoundly overestimated the accuracy of their inferences. Metacognitive judgment calibration mediated the relationship between numeracy and accuracy of diagnostic inferences. In contrast, in the visual aid condition, patients at all levels of numeracy showed high-levels of inferential accuracy and metacognitive judgment calibration. Results indicate that accurate metacognitive assessment may explain the beneficial effects of visual aids and numeracy–a result that accords with theory suggesting that metacognition is an essential part of risk literacy. We conclude that well-designed risk communications can inform patients about healthrelevant numerical information while helping them assess the quality of their own risk comprehension.
Sponsorship: The current research was funded by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Spain) (PSI2011-22954 and PSI2014-51842-R), the National Science Foundation (USA)(SES-1253263), and the Swiss National Science Foundation (100014_140503).
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
Keywords: Visual aids
Bayesian reasoning
Natural frequencies
Numeracy
Risk literacy
Medical decision making
Diagnostic inferences
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10481/37230
ISSN: 1664-1078
Citation: García-Retamero, R.; Cokely, E.T.; Hoffrage, U. Visual aids improve diagnostic inferences and metacognitive judgment calibration. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 932 (2015). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/37230]
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