Effects of Symptom Presentation Order on Perceived Disease Risk

Sau Kwan, Sean P. Wojcik, Talya Miron-shatz, Ashley M. Votruba, Christopher Y. Olivola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

People are quick to perceive meaningful patterns in the co-occurrence of events. We report two studies exploring the effects of streaks in symptom checklists on perceived personal disease risk. In the context of these studies, a streak is a sequence of consecutive items on a list that share the characteristic of being either general or specific. We identify a psychological mechanism underlying the effect of streaks in a list of symptoms and show that the effect of streaks on perceived risk varies with the length of the symptom list. Our findings reveal a tendency to infer meaning from streaks in medical and health decision making. Participants perceived a higher personal risk of having an illness when presented with a checklist in which common symptoms were grouped together than when presented with a checklist in which these same symptoms were separated by rare symptoms. This research demonstrates that something as arbitrary as the order in which symptoms are presented in a checklist can affect perceived risk of disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-385
Number of pages5
JournalPsychological Science
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2012

Fingerprint

Checklist
Psychology
Health
Research

Keywords

  • decision making
  • health
  • judgment
  • prediction
  • randomness cognition
  • social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Kwan, S., Wojcik, S. P., Miron-shatz, T., Votruba, A. M., & Olivola, C. Y. (2012). Effects of Symptom Presentation Order on Perceived Disease Risk. Psychological Science, 23(4), 381-385. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611432177

Effects of Symptom Presentation Order on Perceived Disease Risk. / Kwan, Sau; Wojcik, Sean P.; Miron-shatz, Talya; Votruba, Ashley M.; Olivola, Christopher Y.

In: Psychological Science, Vol. 23, No. 4, 04.2012, p. 381-385.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kwan, S, Wojcik, SP, Miron-shatz, T, Votruba, AM & Olivola, CY 2012, 'Effects of Symptom Presentation Order on Perceived Disease Risk', Psychological Science, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 381-385. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611432177
Kwan, Sau ; Wojcik, Sean P. ; Miron-shatz, Talya ; Votruba, Ashley M. ; Olivola, Christopher Y. / Effects of Symptom Presentation Order on Perceived Disease Risk. In: Psychological Science. 2012 ; Vol. 23, No. 4. pp. 381-385.
@article{ca1003d8b3764aa0a71429311e4b1aeb,
title = "Effects of Symptom Presentation Order on Perceived Disease Risk",
abstract = "People are quick to perceive meaningful patterns in the co-occurrence of events. We report two studies exploring the effects of streaks in symptom checklists on perceived personal disease risk. In the context of these studies, a streak is a sequence of consecutive items on a list that share the characteristic of being either general or specific. We identify a psychological mechanism underlying the effect of streaks in a list of symptoms and show that the effect of streaks on perceived risk varies with the length of the symptom list. Our findings reveal a tendency to infer meaning from streaks in medical and health decision making. Participants perceived a higher personal risk of having an illness when presented with a checklist in which common symptoms were grouped together than when presented with a checklist in which these same symptoms were separated by rare symptoms. This research demonstrates that something as arbitrary as the order in which symptoms are presented in a checklist can affect perceived risk of disease.",
keywords = "decision making, health, judgment, prediction, randomness cognition, social cognition",
author = "Sau Kwan and Wojcik, {Sean P.} and Talya Miron-shatz and Votruba, {Ashley M.} and Olivola, {Christopher Y.}",
year = "2012",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1177/0956797611432177",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "23",
pages = "381--385",
journal = "Psychological Science",
issn = "0956-7976",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Effects of Symptom Presentation Order on Perceived Disease Risk

AU - Kwan, Sau

AU - Wojcik, Sean P.

AU - Miron-shatz, Talya

AU - Votruba, Ashley M.

AU - Olivola, Christopher Y.

PY - 2012/4

Y1 - 2012/4

N2 - People are quick to perceive meaningful patterns in the co-occurrence of events. We report two studies exploring the effects of streaks in symptom checklists on perceived personal disease risk. In the context of these studies, a streak is a sequence of consecutive items on a list that share the characteristic of being either general or specific. We identify a psychological mechanism underlying the effect of streaks in a list of symptoms and show that the effect of streaks on perceived risk varies with the length of the symptom list. Our findings reveal a tendency to infer meaning from streaks in medical and health decision making. Participants perceived a higher personal risk of having an illness when presented with a checklist in which common symptoms were grouped together than when presented with a checklist in which these same symptoms were separated by rare symptoms. This research demonstrates that something as arbitrary as the order in which symptoms are presented in a checklist can affect perceived risk of disease.

AB - People are quick to perceive meaningful patterns in the co-occurrence of events. We report two studies exploring the effects of streaks in symptom checklists on perceived personal disease risk. In the context of these studies, a streak is a sequence of consecutive items on a list that share the characteristic of being either general or specific. We identify a psychological mechanism underlying the effect of streaks in a list of symptoms and show that the effect of streaks on perceived risk varies with the length of the symptom list. Our findings reveal a tendency to infer meaning from streaks in medical and health decision making. Participants perceived a higher personal risk of having an illness when presented with a checklist in which common symptoms were grouped together than when presented with a checklist in which these same symptoms were separated by rare symptoms. This research demonstrates that something as arbitrary as the order in which symptoms are presented in a checklist can affect perceived risk of disease.

KW - decision making

KW - health

KW - judgment

KW - prediction

KW - randomness cognition

KW - social cognition

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84859813016&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84859813016&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0956797611432177

DO - 10.1177/0956797611432177

M3 - Article

C2 - 22395133

AN - SCOPUS:84859813016

VL - 23

SP - 381

EP - 385

JO - Psychological Science

JF - Psychological Science

SN - 0956-7976

IS - 4

ER -