Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why The Web Tells Us What We Already Know

Date:
January 28, 2008
Source:
University of New South Wales
Summary:
The Internet is not the font of all knowledge, despite the plethora of information available at your fingertips. Researchers have found that while Internet searches do bring up a variety of useful materials, people pay more attention to information that matches their pre-existing beliefs.

The Internet is not the font of all knowledge, despite the plethora of information available at your fingertips.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia have found that while Internet searches do bring up a variety of useful materials, people pay more attention to information that matches their pre-existing beliefs.

"Even if people read the right material, they are stubborn to changing their views," said one of the authors, UNSW Professor Enrico Coiera. "This means that providing people with the right information on its own may not be enough."

The research considered how people use Internet search engines to answer health questions.

"We know that the web is increasingly being used by people to help them make healthcare decisions," said Professor Coiera. "We know that there can be negative consequences if people find the wrong information, especially as people in some countries can now self-medicate by ordering drugs online. Australians can order complementary medicines online and these can interfere with other medications."

"Our research shows that, even if search engines do find the 'right' information, people may still draw the wrong conclusions -- in other words, their conclusions are biased."

What also matters is where the information appears in the search results and how much time a person spends looking at it, according to the research which has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

"The first or the last document the user sees has a much greater impact on their decisions," said Professor Coiera, who is the Director of the Centre for Health Informatics at UNSW.

Dr Annie Lau worked with Professor Coiera to design an interface to help people make sense of the information which they are presented with and to break down these decision biases.

"The new search engine interface we have designed could be a part of any search engine and allows people to organise the information they find, and as a result organise their thoughts better," said Professor Coiera.

While the research was conducted in the area of health, Professor Coiera said the results -- and the technology -- are applicable to other fields too.

The research on the interface will be publicly available within a year.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New South Wales. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of New South Wales. "Why The Web Tells Us What We Already Know." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080124092536.htm>.
University of New South Wales. (2008, January 28). Why The Web Tells Us What We Already Know. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080124092536.htm
University of New South Wales. "Why The Web Tells Us What We Already Know." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080124092536.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is Apple's iMessage Really Being Overrun By Spammers?

Is Apple's iMessage Really Being Overrun By Spammers?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) A report says more than one third of all SMS spam over the past year came from a "single campaign" using iMessage and targeting iPhone users. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) In the wake of a high-profile harassment case, Twitter says family members can ask for photos of dying or dead relatives to be taken down. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) In a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Ballmer said he's leaving the board of directors and offered tips on how the company can be successful. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Google Can Gain From Special Accounts For Children

What Google Can Gain From Special Accounts For Children

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Google will reportedly offer official accounts for children younger than 13 years old. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins