Graphical Depiction of Statistical Information Improves Gambling-Related Judgments

June, 2019


The domain of gambling is rife with both diagnostic and non-diagnostic information. Previous studies examining scratch card gambling have demonstrated that people are often biased by intuitively appealing, yet non-diagnostic information (i.e., unclaimed prize information). The current study investigated how varying the presentation format of a diagnostic piece of information (i.e., payback percentage) could influence participants’ use of this information when in conflict with unclaimed prize information. We hypothesized that when payback percentage information was presented in a graphical, as opposed to a numerical format, participants would be better at ignoring unclaimed prize information and correspondingly have their preferences become congruent with the true value of the presented scratch cards. In Experiment 1 (N = 201), with payback percentage presented in a numerical format, participants displayed a non-optimal preference for cards with greater numbers of unclaimed prizes and lower payback percentages. This preference was reversed in Experiment 2 (N = 201) when payback percentage was presented in a graphical format. In conclusion, the results of the current study demonstrate how judgments in a scratch card gambling domain can be improved by simply changing the presentation format of a single piece of information.

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