The impact of visualization on flexible Bayesian reasoning

  • Katharina Böcherer-Linder University of Education Freiburg
  • Andreas Eichler University of Kassel
  • Markus Vogel University of Education Heidelberg


There is wide consensus that visualizations of statistical information can support Bayesian reasoning. This article focusses on the conceptual understanding of Bayesian reasoning situations and investigates whether the tree diagram or the unit square is more appropriate to support the understanding of the influence of the base rate, which is introduced as being a part of flexible Bayesian reasoning. As a statistical graph, the unit square reflects the influence of the base rate not only in a numerical but also in a geometrical way. Accordingly, in two experiments with undergraduate students (N = 148 and N = 143) the unit square outperformed the tree diagram referring to the understanding of the influence of the base rate. Our results could inform the discussion about how to visualize Bayesian situations and has practical consequences for the teaching and learning of statistics.
BÖCHERER-LINDER, Katharina; EICHLER, Andreas; VOGEL, Markus. The impact of visualization on flexible Bayesian reasoning. Avances de Investigación en Educación Matemática, [S.l.], n. 11, p. 25-46, mayo 2017. ISSN 2254-4313. Disponible en: <>. Fecha de acceso: 27 jun. 2017

Palabras clave

Bayesian reasoning; base rate; visualization; tree diagram; unit square