AuthorsE. Løhre
TitleStronger, sooner, and more certain climate change: A link between certainty and outcome strength in revised forecasts
AfilliationSoftware Engineering
Project(s)No Simula project
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
PublisherTaylor & Francis

What do lay people think about revised forecasts of future outcomes? A series of experiments
show that when climate change forecasts are revised in an upward direction (e.g., a higher sea
level rise is predicted in light of new information), the forecast is perceived as more certain, in
contrast to revisions in a downward direction. This association is bidirectional, so that people
also think a forecast that has become more certain (uncertain) indicates a stronger (weaker)
outcome. Furthermore, when the timing of the outcome is revised, a predicted sooner
occurrence (a “stronger” outcome) was judged to be more certain than a predicted delayed
occurrence. Upward revisions may also lead to more positive impressions of the forecast and
the forecaster, with clear implications for the communication of uncertainty, both for climate
change and in other domains. Different theoretical explanations for the results are discussed.

Citation Key25638