Interpretation of probability phrases

Interpretation of probability phrases


Verbal probability phrases are often used to express risks. However, it has been shown in various languages that people interpret these risks very differently. We did a replication study to assess the interpretation of 29 Dutch phrases that are often used in news paper articles.

Our survey was distributed among both statisticians and non-statisticians with Dutch as their native language. The responses from 881 participants indeed showed a large variability in the interpretation of Dutch phrases, even among statisticians. Hence, the use of phrases to convey a probability can easily lead to miscommunications.


You can find all details of this study in the scientific article:
Willems, S. J. W., Albers, C. J. and Smeets, I. (2020). ‘Variability in the interpretation of probability phrases used in Dutch news articles — a risk for miscommunication’. JCOM19(02), A03.

We also wrote a blog post (in Dutch) about the results, read it here.