Touching Beliefs: Using Touchscreen Technology to Elicit Beliefs and Subjective Expectations in Survey Research

Elisa Maffioli, Duke University
Manoj Mohanan, Duke University
Wendy Prudhomme O’Meara, Duke University

When making decisions, individuals face many sources of uncertainty: they may form subjective expectations about probabilities of events relevant for their choice. Developing accurate measurement of subjective expectations is crucial to have high-quality data to analyze individual behavior. This paper reports the development and validity of a new method of eliciting subjective expectations. We developed a touchscreen-based application that combines an animated ‘slider’ along with dynamic images that change relative sizes based on the probability indicated by the respondent. We compare our method to the more traditional approach of using beans as visual aids. First, we show that respondents understand the probability concept well. Second, we test for equality of the distributions elicited with the different methods. We finally test whether the results in our study are explained by respondents’ learning over the survey. We provide an additional method to researchers in the field to collect subjective expectations’ data.

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Presented in Session 104: Methods and Measurement in Population, Development, and Environment Research