# Do You Mean What You Say? The Effect of Uncertainty Avoidance on the Interpretation of Probability Expressions - A Comparative Study between Spanish and German

- Franziska Bocklisch,
*Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany*
- Anne Georg,
*Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany*
- Steffen Bocklisch,
*Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany*
- Josef Krems,
*Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany*

## Abstract

In times of globalization, differences between cultures and in the
interpretation of linguistic terms can lead to misunderstanding in communication.
The present study focuses on the influence of cultural dimensions, especially
uncertainty avoidance, on the interpretation of verbal probability expressions.
It is hypothesized that uncertainty avoidance has an effect on the interpretation
of uncertainty expressions. Therefore, Spanish and German participants were asked
(1) for uncertainty avoidance and (2) to estimate numerical equivalents for 12
verbal probability expressions (e.g., possible). The estimation data were modeled
using fuzzy membership functions. Results neither show differences in uncertainty
avoidance nor in the interpretation of the probability expressions between these
two languages. Possible reasons and future research perspectives are
discussed.

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