To what extent do politeness expectations shape risk perception? Even numerical probabilities are under their spell!

Sirota, Miroslav and Juanchich, Marie (2012) To what extent do politeness expectations shape risk perception? Even numerical probabilities are under their spell! Acta Psychologica, 141(3), pp. 391-399. ISSN (print) 0001-6918

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Abstract

Politeness theory posits that uncertainty quantifiers can be interpreted as hedging strategies and thus be perceived as communicating greater certainty than when they are interpreted as likelihood-communication devices. This has only been tested with verbal probabilities (e.g., it is possible). The present paper aims to test whether numerical probabilities can also be interpreted as face-management devices and to investigate the effect of such an interpretation on risk perception. Four experiments focused on the effect of interpretations of numerical probabilities in negative outcome predictions on risk perception (e.g., there is a 50% probability that your stocks will lose their value). Politeness expectation was manipulated by the personality of the speaker (i.e., blunt vs. tactful, Experiments 1 and 2) and according to the conversational partners' need for politeness (Experiments 3 and 4). Results show that numerical probabilities, like verbal ones, were interpreted as likelihood-communication or face-management devices and that the two interpretations led to different risk perceptions. Findings were replicated with different formats, such as percentage (e.g., 50%) and chance ratio (e.g., 1 chance in 3) and with different degrees of certainty (e.g., .30, .50 and .70). Theoretical and practical implications relevant to risk communication are presented and discussed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: verbal probability, numerical probability, politeness, face-management, likelihood-communication
Research Area: Psychology
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Social Science (until November 2012)
Faculty of Business and Law
Faculty of Business and Law > Centre for Research in Employment, Skills and Society (CRESS)
Faculty of Business and Law > Kingston Business School (Leadership, HRM and Organisation) (until July 2013)
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Depositing User: Marie Juanchich
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2012 17:28
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2014 09:14
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/23532

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