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!
Next stop Morocco: EU partners test innovative space robotics technologies in the Sahara desert
09.11.2018 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
A burst of ”synchronous” light
08.11.2018 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
Scientists developed specially coated nanometer-sized vehicles that can be actively moved through dense tissue like the vitreous of the eye. So far, the transport of nano-vehicles has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids, but not in real tissue. The work was published in the journal Science Advances and constitutes one step further towards nanorobots becoming minimally-invasive tools for precisely delivering medicine to where it is needed.
Researchers of the “Micro, Nano and Molecular Systems” Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
12.11.2018 | Life Sciences
12.11.2018 | Materials Sciences
12.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy