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The effect of uncertainty information and graphic design on decision-making. Dr. Kim Klockow AMS/UCAR Congressional Science Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science Washington, D.C. NOAA Social Science in Weather Research Grant Program. Motivation: Research for Operations.

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the effect of uncertainty information and graphic design on decision making

The effect of uncertainty information and graphic design on decision-making

Dr. Kim Klockow

AMS/UCAR Congressional Science Fellow

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Washington, D.C.

NOAA Social Science in Weather Research Grant Program

motivation research for operations
Motivation: Research for Operations

NOAA Social Science in Weather Research Grant Program

motivation research for operations1
Motivation: Research for Operations

What might the effects be of each of these ways of depicting tornado risk?

From Stensrud et al. 2009

From Iowa State University

Current warning technique: Warn-on-detection

Future alerting technique: “Warn”-on-forecast

NOAA Social Science in Weather Research Grant Program

motivation research for operations2
Motivation: Research for Operations

Specific questions:

-How does warning lengthinfluence the perception of risk within and outside the warning?

-How does the inclusion of uncertainty informationchange the perception of risk over the warning space?

-How do symbolic risk elements, such as color, influence the perception of risk?

In general: What kinds of warning policies might we consider targeting in the future?

NOAA Social Science in Weather Research Grant Program

experimental method
Experimental method

Choice scenario

  • Participants decide whether or not to order an aircraft hangar to shut down operations and protect for a tornado
  • Cost/loss: $3000 to protect, $6000 loss if a tornado hits and you failed to protect
    • Should protect if the probability is 50% or above
  • Simplified scenario compared to real-life: No dynamic choices considered.
  • Sampling method: Web interface, census-balanced panel provided by SSI*
    • N = 5564 participants

NOAA Social Science in Weather Research Grant Program

decision experiments
Decision experiments

Half of the sample received simple verbal guidance:

A storm either had a “high” or “low” chance of producing a tornado.

Verbal guidance followed the decision criterion assigned in the experiment (50%).

decision experiments1
Decision experiments

Effect of distance and boundary inclusion/exclusion

NOAA Social Science in Weather Research Grant Program

decision experiments2
Decision experiments

Effect of verbal guidance

NOAA Social Science in Weather Research Grant Program

decision experiments3
Decision experiments

Effect of probabilistic information

NOAA Social Science in Weather Research Grant Program

decision experiments4
Decision experiments

NOAA Social Science in Weather Research Grant Program

implications of experimental findings for warning practice
Implications of experimental findings for warning practice
  • Lengthening deterministic warnings
    • Tradeoffs: Implications near and far from the warning
  • Including verbal information or probabilities
    • Positive indications, with some caveats
  • Using colors
    • Symbolic meanings translate to risk perception

NOAA Social Science in Weather Research Grant Program

conclusions
Conclusions
  • New representations of risk could potentially change the way risk spaces are perceived
    • Forecasters can shape perceptions through use of warning length; visual, verbal and numeric expressions of uncertainty
  • More work is needed to connect findings from experiments to real-world behaviors
    • Response is more complex than simple yes/no protection decisions at a given point in time
    • Real-world studies: sheltering largely in the last minutes, preparation begins much sooner

NOAA Social Science in Weather Research Grant Program