Volume 13 (2006) Issue 2 Pages 225-239
Recent literature has shown that verbal expressions of uncertainty (verbal probabilities) can be dichotomized. One type is “positive”, which leads to the focus on the occurrence of an uncertainty event. The other, negative terms, suggests its non-occurrence. The present study explored how this distinction, called directionality, affects decisions by analyzing decision reasons. The results showed that focus on attributions of alternatives stayed intact regardless of the types of probability words, but the non-occurrence event was more salient when a negative term was presented than when a positive term was presented. These results jointly indicated that the semantic function of directionality can explain the effects of directionality on decisions. This study also showed the possibility that the decision processes based on negative terms are highly analogous to those based on numerical probabilities. Other implications on decision processes are discussed.