Improving risk understanding across ability levels: Encouraging active processing with dynamic icon arrays

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© 2015 American Psychological Association. Icon arrays have been found to improve risk understanding and reduce judgment biases across a wide range of studies. Unfortunately, individuals with low graph literacy experience only limited benefits from such displays. To enhance the efficacy and reach of these decision aids, the authors developed and tested 3 types of dynamic design features-that is, computerized display features that unfold over time. Specifically, the authors manipulated the sequential presentation of the different elements of icon arrays, the presence of explanatory labels indicating what was depicted in the different regions of the arrays, and the use of a reflective question followed by accuracy feedback. The first 2 features were designed to promote specific cognitive processes involved in graph comprehension, whereas the 3rd feature was designed to promote a more active, elaborative processing of risk information. Explanatory labels were effective in improving risk understanding among less graph-literate participants, whereas reflective questions resulted in large and robust performance benefits among participants with both low and high graph literacy. Theoretical and prescriptive implications are discussed.

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Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied