skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Peters, Ellen"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 21, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  3. Four studies demonstrate that the public’s understanding of government budgetary expenditures is hampered by difficulty in representing large numerical magnitudes. Despite orders of magnitude difference between millions and billions, study participants struggle with the budgetary magnitudes of government programs. When numerical values are rescaled as smaller magnitudes (in the thousands or lower), lay understanding improves, as indicated by greater sensitivity to numerical ratios and more accurate rank ordering of expenses. A robust benefit of numerical rescaling is demonstrated across a variety of experimental designs, including policy relevant choices and incentive-compatible accuracy measures. This improved sensitivity ultimately impacts funding choices and public perception of respective budgets, indicating the importance of numerical cognition for good citizenship.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 12, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  6. Luciano, Michelle (Ed.)
    Objective numeracy, the ability to understand and use mathematical concepts, has been related to superior decisions and life outcomes. Unknown is whether it relates to greater satisfaction in life. We investigated numeracy’s relations with income satisfaction and overall life satisfaction in a diverse sample of 5,525 American adults. First, more numerate individuals had higher incomes; for every one point higher on the eight-item numeracy test, individuals reported $4,062 more in annual income, controlling for education and verbal intelligence. Combined, numeracy, education, and verbal intelligence explained 25% of the variance in income while Big-5 personality traits explained less than 4%. Further, the higher incomes associated with greater numeracy were related to more positive life evaluations (income and life satisfaction). Second, extant research also has indicated that the highly numerate compare numbers more than the less numerate. Consistent with numeracy-related income comparisons, numeracy moderated the relation between income and life evaluations, meaning that the same income was valued differently by those better and worse at math. Specifically, among those with lower incomes, the highly numerate were less satisfied than the less numerate; this effect reversed among those with higher incomes as if the highly numerate were aware of and made comparisons tomore »others’ incomes. Further, no clear income satiation point was seen among those highest in numeracy, and satiation among the least numerate appeared to occur at a point below $50,000. Third, both education and verbal intelligence related to income evaluations in similar ways, and numeracy’s relations held when controlling for these other relations. Although causal claims cannot be made from cross-sectional data, these novel results indicate that numeracy may be an important factor underlying life evaluations and especially for evaluations concerning numbers such as incomes. Finally, this study adds to our understanding of education and intelligence effects in life satisfaction and happiness.« less
  7. Abstract

    Climate change poses a multifaceted, complex, and existential threat to human health and well-being, but efforts to communicate these threats to the public lag behind what we know how to do in communication research. Effective communication about climate change’s health risks can improve a wide variety of individual and population health-related outcomes by: (1) helping people better make the connection between climate change and health risks and (2) empowering them to act on that newfound knowledge and understanding. The aim of this manuscript is to highlight communication methods that have received empirical support for improving knowledge uptake and/or driving higher-quality decision making and healthier behaviors and to recommend how to apply them at the intersection of climate change and health. This expert consensus about effective communication methods can be used by healthcare professionals, decision makers, governments, the general public, and other stakeholders including sectors outside of health. In particular, we argue for the use of 11 theory-based, evidence-supported communication strategies and practices. These methods range from leveraging social networks to making careful choices about the use of language, narratives, emotions, visual images, and statistics. Message testing with appropriate groups is also key. When implemented properly, these approaches are likelymore »to improve the outcomes of climate change and health communication efforts.

    « less
  8. Background

    Objective numeracy appears to support better medical decisions and health outcomes. The more numerate generally understand and use numbers more and make better medical decisions, including more informed medical choices. Numeric self-efficacy—an aspect of subjective numeracy that is also known as numeric confidence—also relates to decision making via emotional reactions to and inferences from experienced difficulty with numbers and via persistence linked with numeric comprehension and healthier behaviors over time. Furthermore, it moderates the effects of objective numeracy on medical outcomes.


    We briefly review the numeracy and decision-making literature and then summarize more recent literature on 3 separable effects of numeric self-efficacy. Although dual-process theories can account for the generally superior decision making of the highly numerate, they have neglected effects of numeric self-efficacy. We discuss implications for medical decision-making (MDM) research and practice. Finally, we propose a modification to dual-process theories, adding a “motivational mind” to integrate the effects of numeric self-efficacy on decision-making processes (i.e., inferences from experienced difficulty with numbers, greater persistence, and greater use of objective-numeracy skills) important to high-quality MDM.


    The power of numeric self-efficacy (confidence) has been little considered in MDM, but many medical decisions and behaviors require persistence to be successful over timemore »(e.g., comprehension, medical-recommendation adherence). Including numeric self-efficacy in research and theorizing will increase understanding of MDM and promote development of better decision interventions.


    Research demonstrates that objective numeracy supports better medical decisions and health outcomes. The power of numeric self-efficacy (aka numeric confidence) has been little considered but appears critical to emotional reactions and inferences that patients and others make when encountering numeric information (e.g., in decision aids) and to greater persistence in medical decision-making tasks involving numbers. The present article proposes a novel modification to dual-process theory to account for newer findings and to describe how numeracy mechanisms can be better understood. Because being able to adapt interventions to improve medical decisions depends in part on having a good theory, future research should incorporate numeric self-efficacy into medical decision-making theories and interventions.

    « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 18, 2023