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Deutungsspielräume

Mehrdeutigkeit als kulturelles Phänomen

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Edited By Nicolas Potysch and Matthias Bauer

Dieser Band ist aus einer interdisziplinären Ringvorlesung hervorgegangen, die von den Doktorandinnen und Doktoranden des Tübinger Graduiertenkollegs „Ambiguität: Produktion und Rezeption", federführend Nicolas Potysch und Sophia Kuhs, initiiert und geplant wurde. In den Beiträgen aus 12 verschiedenen Fachgebieten geht es darum, wie sprachliche und semiotische Mehrdeutigkeit an die Deutung der Wirklichkeit rückgebunden ist. Die Beiträge untersuchen Ambiguität (als Mehrzahl abgrenzbarer Bedeutungen) und Vagheit (als Spektrum nicht abgrenzbarer Bedeutungen) in Texten und Bildern. In Verbindung damit diskutieren sie zahlreiche Phänomene in kultureller, politischer, juristischer, psychologischer und didaktischer Praxis, die deutungsoffen und deutungsbedürftig sind.

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1 ≠ 1. Die variable Wirkung von Zahlen im Spendenkontext

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Abstract

The consequences of humanitarian catastrophes (e. g., number of lives affected) are often conveyed in numerical formats. Numbers in particular are often judged to be easily understood and transfer meaning through clear facts, which is one of the reasons why they are used to inform about victims and motivate helping responses. Although numbers should result in objective evaluations, they are usually perceived subjectively. The interpretations depend on the context in which these numbers are presented as well as individual differences in the recipient of the information. Thus, the same numerical information can lead to ambiguity and different interpretations. For example, saving 10 lives can be perceived as a good intervention; if, however, 1000 people are at risk of dying, saving 10 lives (only 1% of those affected) seems less effective. At the same time, saving 10 lives is better than saving 2 lives. This example illustrates that the meaning of numbers depends on reference points and that numbers can be inherently ambiguous. This chapter showcases this ambiguity in the perception and interpretation of numbers in donation contexts. We review empirical findings from several disciplines (e. g., psychology, decision making, economics, and marketing) suggesting that the interpretation of numerical information in donation contexts is often biased. We specifically shed light on the presentation of different formats of numbers (e. g., absolute numbers vs. percentages), the meaning that is conveyed by numbers, the impact of non-numerical information (e. g., pictures) on numbers as well as numerical abilities...

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