- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- User Interface Software & Technology
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- 591 to 603
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
Abstract: 100 words Jurors are increasingly exposed to scientific information in the courtroom. To determine whether providing jurors with gist information would assist in their ability to make well-informed decisions, the present experiment utilized a Fuzzy Trace Theory-inspired intervention and tested it against traditional legal safeguards (i.e., judge instructions) by varying the scientific quality of the evidence. The results indicate that jurors who viewed high quality evidence rated the scientific evidence significantly higher than those who viewed low quality evidence, but were unable to moderate the credibility of the expert witness and apply damages appropriately resulting in poor calibration. Summary: <1000 words Jurors and juries are increasingly exposed to scientific information in the courtroom and it remains unclear when they will base their decisions on a reasonable understanding of the relevant scientific information. Without such knowledge, the ability of jurors and juries to make well-informed decisions may be at risk, increasing chances of unjust outcomes (e.g., false convictions in criminal cases). Therefore, there is a critical need to understand conditions that affect jurors’ and juries’ sensitivity to the qualities of scientific information and to identify safeguards that can assist with scientific calibration in the courtroom. The current project addresses these issues with an ecologically valid experimental paradigm, making it possible to assess causal effects of evidence quality and safeguards as well as the role of a host of individual difference variables that may affect perceptions of testimony by scientific experts as well as liability in a civil case. Our main goal was to develop a simple, theoretically grounded tool to enable triers of fact (individual jurors) with a range of scientific reasoning abilities to appropriately weigh scientific evidence in court. We did so by testing a Fuzzy Trace Theory-inspired intervention in court, and testing it against traditional legal safeguards. Appropriate use of scientific evidence reflects good calibration – which we define as being influenced more by strong scientific information than by weak scientific information. Inappropriate use reflects poor calibration – defined as relative insensitivity to the strength of scientific information. Fuzzy Trace Theory (Reyna & Brainerd, 1995) predicts that techniques for improving calibration can come from presentation of easy-to-interpret, bottom-line “gist” of the information. Our central hypothesis was that laypeople’s appropriate use of scientific information would be moderated both by external situational conditions (e.g., quality of the scientific information itself, a decision aid designed to convey clearly the “gist” of the information) and individual differences among people (e.g., scientific reasoning skills, cognitive reflection tendencies, numeracy, need for cognition, attitudes toward and trust in science). Identifying factors that promote jurors’ appropriate understanding of and reliance on scientific information will contribute to general theories of reasoning based on scientific evidence, while also providing an evidence-based framework for improving the courts’ use of scientific information. All hypotheses were preregistered on the Open Science Framework. Method Participants completed six questionnaires (counterbalanced): Need for Cognition Scale (NCS; 18 items), Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT; 7 items), Abbreviated Numeracy Scale (ABS; 6 items), Scientific Reasoning Scale (SRS; 11 items), Trust in Science (TIS; 29 items), and Attitudes towards Science (ATS; 7 items). Participants then viewed a video depicting a civil trial in which the defendant sought damages from the plaintiff for injuries caused by a fall. The defendant (bar patron) alleged that the plaintiff (bartender) pushed him, causing him to fall and hit his head on the hard floor. Participants were informed at the outset that the defendant was liable; therefore, their task was to determine if the plaintiff should be compensated. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 6 experimental conditions: 2 (quality of scientific evidence: high vs. low) x 3 (safeguard to improve calibration: gist information, no-gist information [control], jury instructions). An expert witness (neuroscientist) hired by the court testified regarding the scientific strength of fMRI data (high [90 to 10 signal-to-noise ratio] vs. low [50 to 50 signal-to-noise ratio]) and gist or no-gist information both verbally (i.e., fairly high/about average) and visually (i.e., a graph). After viewing the video, participants were asked if they would like to award damages. If they indicated yes, they were asked to enter a dollar amount. Participants then completed the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule-Modified Short Form (PANAS-MSF; 16 items), expert Witness Credibility Scale (WCS; 20 items), Witness Credibility and Influence on damages for each witness, manipulation check questions, Understanding Scientific Testimony (UST; 10 items), and 3 additional measures were collected, but are beyond the scope of the current investigation. Finally, participants completed demographic questions, including questions about their scientific background and experience. The study was completed via Qualtrics, with participation from students (online vs. in-lab), MTurkers, and non-student community members. After removing those who failed attention check questions, 469 participants remained (243 men, 224 women, 2 did not specify gender) from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds (70.2% White, non-Hispanic). Results and Discussion There were three primary outcomes: quality of the scientific evidence, expert credibility (WCS), and damages. During initial analyses, each dependent variable was submitted to a separate 3 Gist Safeguard (safeguard, no safeguard, judge instructions) x 2 Scientific Quality (high, low) Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Consistent with hypotheses, there was a significant main effect of scientific quality on strength of evidence, F(1, 463)=5.099, p=.024; participants who viewed the high quality evidence rated the scientific evidence significantly higher (M= 7.44) than those who viewed the low quality evidence (M=7.06). There were no significant main effects or interactions for witness credibility, indicating that the expert that provided scientific testimony was seen as equally credible regardless of scientific quality or gist safeguard. Finally, for damages, consistent with hypotheses, there was a marginally significant interaction between Gist Safeguard and Scientific Quality, F(2, 273)=2.916, p=.056. However, post hoc t-tests revealed significantly higher damages were awarded for low (M=11.50) versus high (M=10.51) scientific quality evidence F(1, 273)=3.955, p=.048 in the no gist with judge instructions safeguard condition, which was contrary to hypotheses. The data suggest that the judge instructions alone are reversing the pattern, though nonsignificant, those who received the no gist without judge instructions safeguard awarded higher damages in the high (M=11.34) versus low (M=10.84) scientific quality evidence conditions F(1, 273)=1.059, p=.30. Together, these provide promising initial results indicating that participants were able to effectively differentiate between high and low scientific quality of evidence, though inappropriately utilized the scientific evidence through their inability to discern expert credibility and apply damages, resulting in poor calibration. These results will provide the basis for more sophisticated analyses including higher order interactions with individual differences (e.g., need for cognition) as well as tests of mediation using path analyses. [References omitted but available by request] Learning Objective: Participants will be able to determine whether providing jurors with gist information would assist in their ability to award damages in a civil trial.more » « less
How do children acquire exact meanings for number words like
threeor forty‐seven? In recent years, a lively debate has probed the cognitive systems that support learning, with some arguing that an evolutionarily ancient “approximate number system” drives early number word meanings, and others arguing that learning is supported chiefly by representations of small sets of discrete individuals. This debate has centered around the findings generated by Wynn's ( , ) Give‐a‐Number task, which she used to categorize children into discrete “knower level” stages. Early reports confirmed Wynn's analysis, and took these stages to support the “small sets” hypothesis. However, more recent studies have disputed this analysis, and have argued that Give‐a‐Number data reveal a strong role for approximate number representations. In the present study, we use previously collected Give‐a‐Number data to replicate the analyses of these past studies, and to show that differences between past studies are due to assumptions made in analyses, rather than to differences in data themselves. We also show how Give‐a‐Number data violate the assumptions of parametric tests used in past studies. Based on simple non‐parametric tests and model simulations, we conclude that (a) before children learn exact meanings for words like one, two, three,and four,they first acquire noisy preliminary meanings for these words, (b) there is no reliable evidence of preliminary meanings for larger meanings, and (c) Give‐a‐Number cannot be used to readily identify signatures of the approximate number system.
Randomisation inference (RI) is typically interpreted as testing Fisher’s ‘sharp’ null hypothesis that all unit-level effects are exactly zero. This hypothesis is often criticised as restrictive and implausible, making its rejection scientifically uninteresting. We show, however, that many randomisation tests are also valid for a ‘bounded’ null hypothesis under which the unit-level effects are all non-positive (or all non-negative) but are otherwise heterogeneous. In addition to being more plausible a priori, bounded nulls are closely related to substantively important concepts such as monotonicity and Pareto efficiency. Reinterpreting RI in this way expands the range of inferences possible in this framework. We show that exact confidence intervals for the maximum (or minimum) unit-level effect can be obtained by inverting tests for a sequence of bounded nulls. We also generalise RI to cover inference for quantiles of the individual effect distribution as well as for the proportion of individual effects larger (or smaller) than a given threshold. The proposed confidence intervals for all effect quantiles are simultaneously valid, in the sense that no correction for multiple analyses is required. In sum, our reinterpretation and generalisation provide a broader justification for randomisation tests and a basis for exact non-parametric inference for effect quantiles.
We propose a general method for constructing confidence sets and hypothesis tests that have finite-sample guarantees without regularity conditions. We refer to such procedures as “universal.” The method is very simple and is based on a modified version of the usual likelihood-ratio statistic that we call “the split likelihood-ratio test” (split LRT) statistic. The (limiting) null distribution of the classical likelihood-ratio statistic is often intractable when used to test composite null hypotheses in irregular statistical models. Our method is especially appealing for statistical inference in these complex setups. The method we suggest works for any parametric model and also for some nonparametric models, as long as computing a maximum-likelihood estimator (MLE) is feasible under the null. Canonical examples arise in mixture modeling and shape-constrained inference, for which constructing tests and confidence sets has been notoriously difficult. We also develop various extensions of our basic methods. We show that in settings when computing the MLE is hard, for the purpose of constructing valid tests and intervals, it is sufficient to upper bound the maximum likelihood. We investigate some conditions under which our methods yield valid inferences under model misspecification. Further, the split LRT can be used with profile likelihoods to deal with nuisance parameters, and it can also be run sequentially to yield anytime-valid P values and confidence sequences. Finally, when combined with the method of sieves, it can be used to perform model selection with nested model classes.
Combining statistical parametric maps (SPM) from individual subjects is the goal in some types of group‐level analyses of functional magnetic resonance imaging data. Brain maps are usually combined using a simple average across subjects, making them susceptible to subjects with outlying values. Furthermore,
ttests are prone to false positives and false negatives when outlying values are observed. We propose a regularized unsupervised aggregation method for SPMs to find an optimal weight for aggregation, which aids in detecting and mitigating the effect of outlying subjects. We also present a bootstrap‐based weighted ttest using the optimal weights to construct an activation map robust to outlying subjects. We validate the performance of the proposed aggregation method and test using simulated and real data examples. Results show that the regularized aggregation approach can effectively detect outlying subjects, lower their weights, and produce robust SPMs.