Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Why the Web tells us what we already know

28.01.2008
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.

Professor Enrico Coiera | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unsw.edu.au

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Single-photon detector can count to 4
18.12.2017 | Duke University

nachricht New epidemic management system combats monkeypox outbreak in Nigeria
15.12.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Error-free into the Quantum Computer Age

A study carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors.

In order to reach their full potential, today’s quantum computer prototypes have to meet specific criteria: First, they have to be made bigger, which means...

Im Focus: Search for planets with Carmenes successful

German and Spanish researchers plan, build and use modern spectrograph

Since 2016, German and Spanish researchers, among them scientists from the University of Göttingen, have been hunting for exoplanets with the “Carmenes”...

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

The body's street sweepers

18.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Fast flowing heat in layered material heterostructures

18.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

Life on the edge prepares plants for climate change

18.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>