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Effects of Individual Differences in Cognitive Style and Spatial Ability on Web Search Behavior

Author: XuHongMin
Tutor: ZhangZhiJun
School: Zhejiang University
Course: Applied Psychology
Keywords: cognitive style spatial orientation spatial visualization search behavior
CLC: B842.1
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 32
Quote: 0
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Abstract


Search engine is a major tool to access to web resources. While, it is sometimes not easy to find target information precisely and rapidly. Users with different characteristics often have different difficult. Designing effectively personalized interface to match different characteristics of users by analyzing how user factors influence web search is an important way to improve the performance of search engine.In the past, there was fewer studies compared the effect of some related individual differences. Most researchers just selected some user factors and only analyzed their major effects or interaction effects. Therefore, this study was aim to compare the effects of field-independent/field-dependent cognitive style and spatial ability (spatial orientation & spatial visualization) these ralated factors on web search behavior to help to understand their effects and suggested the appropriate user factor to be matched by personalized search engine.Two experiments were included. The effects of individual differences in cognitive style and spatial ability on Web search behavior were explored in the first one. In the second one, the hypothesis was examined that the reason why cognitive style influenced query number in the first experiment was the relevant relationship between cognitive style and the ability to find target information from text context in the search engine result list pages or web document pages. Relevance judgement of result links was analyzed expecially.Some major results were revealed. Firstly, there were significantly effects of cognitive style and spatial orientation ability on web search behavior. Secondly, cognitive style affected the query number and search time by the preference of trust bias or quality bias and the ability to find target information from text context in the search engine result list pages or web document pages. It also affected the perception of reformulated queries from relevant search provided by search engine, the degree of natural language when expressed query and preference of navigation document. Thirdly, spatial orientation ability affected the perception of reformulated queries from relevant search provided by search engine, the degree of natural language when expressed query and query length. Fourthly, Spatial visualization had no effect.Above all, cognitive style had abroader effects than spatial ability. It contained all the effects of spatial orientation ability except query length. Therefore, cognitive style was suitable to be matched with personalized search engine interface rather than spatial ability.

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