The effect of iconicity of visual displays on statistical reasoning: evidence in favor of the null hypothesis

Sirota, Miroslav, Kostovicova, Lenka and Juanchich, Marie (2014) The effect of iconicity of visual displays on statistical reasoning: evidence in favor of the null hypothesis. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21(4), pp. 961-968. ISSN (print) 1069-9384

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Abstract

Knowing which properties of visual displays facilitate statistical reasoning bears practical and theoretical implications. Therefore, we studied the effect of one property of visual diplays - iconicity (i.e., the resemblance of a visual sign to its referent) - on Bayesian reasoning. Two main accounts of statistical reasoning predict different effect of iconicity on Bayesian reasoning. The ecological-rationality account predicts a positive iconicity effect, because more highly iconic signs resemble more individuated objects, which tap better into an evolutionary-designed frequency-coding mechanism that, in turn, facilitates Bayesian reasoning. The nested-sets account predicts a null iconicity effect, because iconicity does not affect the salience of a nested-sets structure-the factor facilitating Bayesian reasoning processed by a general reasoning mechanism. In two well-powered experiments (N = 577), we found no support for a positive iconicity effect across different iconicity levels that were manipulated in different visual displays (meta-analytical overall effect: log OR = -0.13, 95% CI [-0.53, 0.28]). A Bayes factor analysis provided strong evidence in favor of the null hypothesis-the null iconicity effect. Thus, these findings corroborate the nested-sets rather than the ecological-rationality account of statistical reasoning.

Item Type: Article
Research Area: Business and management studies
Psychology
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (until 2017)
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (until 2017) > School of Psychology, Criminology and Sociology (from November 2012)
Faculty of Business and Law (until 2017)
Faculty of Business and Law (until 2017) > Centre for Research in Employment, Skills and Society (CRESS)
Faculty of Business and Law (until 2017) > Kingston Business School (Department of Management) (from August 2013)
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Depositing User: Marie Juanchich
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2014 14:33
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2014 09:08
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/27827

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