How Much More Probable is "Much More Probable"? Verbal Expressions for Probability Updates
Christopher Elsaesser, Max Henrion
Bayesian inference systems should be able to explain their reasoning to users, translating from numerical to natural language. Previous empirical work has investigated the correspondence between absolute probabilities and linguistic phrases. This study extends that work to the correspondence between changes in probabilities (updates) and relative probability phrases, such as "much more likely" or "a little less likely." Subjects selected such phrases to best describe numerical probability updates. We examined three hypotheses about the correspondence, and found the most descriptively accurate of these three to be that each such phrase corresponds to a fixed difference in probability (rather than fixed ratio of probabilities or of odds). The empirically derived phrase selection function uses eight phrases and achieved a 72% accuracy in correspondence with the subjects' actual usage.
PDF Link: /papers/89/p88-elsaesser.pdf
AUTHOR = "Christopher Elsaesser
and Max Henrion",
TITLE = "How Much More Probable is "Much More Probable"? Verbal Expressions for Probability Updates",
BOOKTITLE = "Proceedings of the Fifth Conference Annual Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI-89)",
PUBLISHER = "AUAI Press",
ADDRESS = "Corvallis, Oregon",
YEAR = "1989",
PAGES = "88--94"