Touching beliefs: Using touchscreen technology to elicit subjective expectations in survey research.


Journal Article

When making decisions under uncertainty, individuals may form subjective expectations about probabilities of events relevant for their choice. Accurate measurement of subjective expectations is critical for high-quality data needed to analyze individual behavior. This paper reports the development and validity of a new method of eliciting point subjective expectations in developing countries. 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 find that respondents have a sound understanding of basic concepts of probability. Second, we test for equality of the distributions elicited with the different methods and find them highly comparable. Third, we provide evidence that respondents report a more favorable opinion about the slider method and more willingness to complete long surveys using the slider rather than beans. Our findings suggest that the slider could be a viable elicitation method for empirical researchers who aim to collect data on subjective expectations in developing countries.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Maffioli, EM; Mohanan, M

Published Date

  • January 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 13 / 11

Start / End Page

  • e0207484 -

PubMed ID

  • 30458014

Pubmed Central ID

  • 30458014

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0207484


  • eng