Visual Perception and Decision Bias

Research Seminars

The Case of Histogram in Online Ratings

Human perception of data is influenced not only by the content but also by the presentation format. Graphical displays, such as histograms and line charts, are widely used to convey statistical information and facilitate inference. However, these graphical presentations can lead to biased interpretations and result in decision biases. The study presented in this ZEW Research Seminar investigates the impact of histogram distortion on consumer choices. The paper provides evidence for this bias through a series of experiments conducted on Amazon Mechanical Turk. The results demonstrate that the widely accepted histogram representation of online ratings is only partially correct in determining consumer choice preferences. The study concludes that more research is needed to understand how consumers may be biased by visual representation of data.


ZEW Mannheim and Online


Xiaoquan (Michael) Zhang

Research Associate, Xiaoquan (Michael) Zhang // Tsinghua University and Chinese University of Hong Kong, China

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ZEW Mannheim and Online


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