Words or numbers in pension information?: An experimental study on the influence of verbal quantifiers on the decisional conflict of pension participants.
When pension participants reach a certain age, they receive information regarding some important choices they can make in regards to their future pension. In order to
be able to make the best decisions, pension information needs to be clear and understandable. Facts can be communicated by using numbers (quantifiers) or by words that express the meaning of that number (verbal quantifiers). On the one hand, research in the medical and financial domain has shown that people find words to be more natural and easier to understand. On the other hand, research suggests that numbers are more precise. So the question is, which type of information helps pension participants to make the best choice? To which extent do verbal quantifiers in pension communication influence the level of decisional conflict pension participants experience? And does numeracy influence this effect? In this experimental study, three versions of a letter about a pension choice were developed, resulting in a letter with only numerical quantifiers, a letter with verbal quantifiers, and a letter with both numerical and verbal quantifiers. After reading this letter, participants had to make a choice, and following that choice they answered questions from the Decisional Conflict Scale. Additional questions determined their numeracy level. The results showed no significant differences between the three conditions in decisional conflict of the participants. This means that adding verbal quantifiers or replacing numerical with verbal quantifiers does not make pension participants experience less or more decisional conflict when making important pension choices.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is een denktank en kennisnetwerk. Netspar is gericht op een goed geïnformeerd pensioendebat.


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