Abstract for: Stock-and-Flow Failure: Visual Saliency

The Stock-and-Flow failure (SF) is a robust difficulty in people's understanding of accumulation. There is a growing body of literature that tries to understand the nature of the failure and ways to overcome it. Several strategies have been tested with mixed results including modifications to the representation of the problem (e.g. bar graphs, text, numbers, etc.). Exploring elements relevant to overcome this failure, we explore the difficulties that individuals experience in identifying the relevant elements of stock-and-flow problems to then solve these problems (e.g. the classical People in the Store problem, PinS). We test the effect that visual saliency has on performance and found that changing the visual saliency of relevant elements of the problem results in statistically significant improvements in performance. The experimental design and results are presented and discussed.