Toward a Universal Translator of Verbal Probabilities

Tzur M. Karelitz, Mandeep K. Dhami, David V. Budescu, and Thomas S. Wallsten

When forecasters and decision-makers use different phrases to refer to the same event, there is opportunity for errors in communication. In an effort to facilitate the communication process, we investigated various ways of "translating" a forecaster’s verbal probabilities to a decision-maker’s probability phrases. We describe a blueprint for a general translator of verbal probabilities and report results from two empirical studies. The results support the proposed methods and document the beneficial effects of two, relatively simple translation methods.

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