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Given the number of faculty in the CAIDe Lab, we are often involved in a variety of research projects. Here are a few examples of projects that highlight our work.


Many adults in the US struggle with understanding and using numbers, an ability we call objective numeracy (it’s like literacy but with numbers). This difficulty is associated with decision making and worse health and financial outcomes. Additionally, how confident people feel about their number skills – we call this numeric self-efficacy - plays a role in decision making. It appears to influence whether someone persists in tasks involving numbers and how they emotionally react to these tasks. A lack of confidence seems to de-motivate the use of numeric abilities crucial for success in health and finances. In this chapter, we delve into the ways we measure these two aspects of being good with numbers and explore the psychological reasons behind how they affect judgment and decision-making. We also consider how well dual-process theories explain these results. Ultimately, this research suggests that opportunities exist to improve the lives of individuals and society as a whole. By providing education and using evidence-based communication, we believe we can empower people to take control of their lives and make better health and financial decisions.


Established numeracy (like numeric literacy) measures have several flaws. We addressed these flaws by creating three short Numeric Understanding Measures (NUMs). These include an adaptive measure (A-NUM), a non-adaptive four-item measure (4-NUM), and a single-item measure. Validation of the NUMs included confirmatory factor analysis, tests of convergent/discriminant validity, and tests of predictive validity. We demonstrated convergent/discriminant and predictive validity for the NUMs.


As wildfire smoke continues to impact public health in regions like Oregon and Washington, effective communication is crucial to inform and protect communities. Recognizing the increasing risk posed by climate change, our study analyzed social media communication patterns regarding smoke exposure and mitigation measures. Institutional accounts primarily focused on promoting protective actions, with variations observed between Washington and Oregon-based accounts in the emphasis on risk information versus community engagement. These findings underscore the importance of timely and targeted messaging to empower individuals in safeguarding themselves against the health effects of wildfire smoke.


The rising rates of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, underscore the importance of early detection and public education. Patients play a vital role in conducting regular skin checks to detect potential signs of melanoma. Our study aimed to identify effective health communication messages that enhance public knowledge and promote intentions toward skin checks. Results showed that participants exposed to messages, designed to increase melanoma knowledge, correctly identified a greater proportion of moles and had better knowledge of melanoma warning signs. Additionally, messages intended to boost self-confidence in skin checks led to increased intentions to perform skin examinations. The study suggests that online melanoma messages targeting both knowledge enhancement and confidence-building in skin checks may be most effective in improving the accuracy of self-examinations and promoting intentions to conduct them regularly.

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