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Exploring the Cognitive Consequences of Social Search

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Exploring the Cognitive Consequences of Social Search

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To what extent can social interactions augment people’s natural search experiences? What factors influence the decision to turn to a friend for help? This talk presents the preliminary results of a social sensemaking task that begin to address such questions by examining the cognitive consequences of social search.

To what extent can social interactions augment people’s natural search experiences? What factors influence the decision to turn to a friend for help? This talk presents the preliminary results of a social sensemaking task that begin to address such questions by examining the cognitive consequences of social search.

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Exploring the Cognitive Consequences of Social Search

  1. 1. EXPLORING THE COGNITIVE CONSEQUENCES OF SOCIAL SEARCH UC San Diego Brynn M. Evans PARC Sanjay Kairam PARC Peter Pirolli CHI ’09 April 9, 2009 Tuesday, April 14, 2009
  2. 2. Research Goal Tuesday, April 14, 2009 As a study of social search, we are particularly interested in HOW people make use of social resources during search tasks.
  3. 3. Motivation Tuesday, April 14, 2009 This is important because Google sometimes fails us. In fact, exploratory queries are dificult to answer with traditional search alone (there were several sessions at CHI that have looked at this issue).
  4. 4. Motivation Photo Credit: David Wild MORRIS 2008; EVANS CHI 2008 Tuesday, April 14, 2009 Yet prior work has shown that people do ask friends for help during search. Social interactions are actually quite common during search (between half and two-thirds of searches may involve social interactions).
  5. 5. Motivation HATCH GARDNER 1993; KARASAVVIDIS 2002 Tuesday, April 14, 2009 Additionally, social interactions play an important cognitive role in problem solving, brainstorming, and learning tasks. People help each other think through problems and reframe issues. This has been documented in classrooms, organizations, libraries, and other physical environments.
  6. 6. Study design • • ‣ • • • Tuesday, April 14, 2009 To study the benefit of social interactions in search, we recruited 8 subjects who were expert searchers, highly social. They performed 2 Google-hard search tasks in two seach conditions. We video recorded all interactions and asked them to talk-aloud while they were searching.
  7. 7. Study design: tasks 55 MPH PYROLYTIC OIL “If we lowered the speed “What role does pyrolytic oil limit nationally to 55 mph, (or pyrolysis) play in the how many fewer barrels of debate over carbon oil would the U.S. consume emissions?” every year?” Tuesday, April 14, 2009 These were our task questions.
  8. 8. Study design: conditions NON-SOCIAL CONDITION Tuesday, April 14, 2009 Subjects received each task in one of two conditions. In the non-social condition, they performed an otherwise typical web search...
  9. 9. Study design: conditions SOCIAL CONDITION Tuesday, April 14, 2009 In the Social Condition, they were restricted to social resources only: friends, social networks, blogs, question-answer sites...
  10. 10. Three primar y social strategies TARGETED ASKING NETWORK ASKING SEARCHING Photo Credit: Timothy Morgan Tuesday, April 14, 2009 Our analysis is restricted to the social condition right now, since we are primarily interested in HOW people exploit their social enviroments. We found that people used one of three primary social tactics to answer our task problems
  11. 11. Task performance SS03 !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; !quot; !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; #quot; TIME $quot; %quot; quot; 'quot; (quot; Photo Credit: Timothy Morgan )quot; Tuesday, April 14, 2009 You can *quot;see these strategies reflected in the color coding of behaviors on one subject’s timeline.+quot; This person begins by searching over MetaFilter; then posts questions on MetaFilter Twitter; #!quot; and finally IMs with a friend to get additional help. But as you can also see, these activities are interspersed with many other behaviors (as ##quot; expected) -- such as the gray bars: thinking/synthesizing the information he’s come across #$quot;
  12. 12. Task performance SEARCHING SEARCHING [ ] SS03 !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; !quot; !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; #quot; TIME $quot; %quot; quot; 'quot; (quot; Photo Credit: Timothy Morgan )quot; Tuesday, April 14, 2009 You can *quot;see these strategies reflected in the color coding of behaviors on one subject’s timeline.+quot; This person begins by searching over MetaFilter; then posts questions on MetaFilter Twitter; #!quot; and finally IMs with a friend to get additional help. But as you can also see, these activities are interspersed with many other behaviors (as ##quot; expected) -- such as the gray bars: thinking/synthesizing the information he’s come across #$quot;
  13. 13. Task performance NETWORK ASKING NETWORK ASKING [ ] SS03 !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; !quot; !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; #quot; TIME $quot; %quot; quot; 'quot; (quot; Photo Credit: Timothy Morgan )quot; Tuesday, April 14, 2009 You can *quot;see these strategies reflected in the color coding of behaviors on one subject’s timeline.+quot; This person begins by searching over MetaFilter; then posts questions on MetaFilter Twitter; #!quot; and finally IMs with a friend to get additional help. But as you can also see, these activities are interspersed with many other behaviors (as ##quot; expected) -- such as the gray bars: thinking/synthesizing the information he’s come across #$quot;
  14. 14. Task performance TARGETED ASKING TARGETED ASKING [ ] SS03 !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; !quot; !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; #quot; TIME $quot; %quot; quot; 'quot; (quot; Photo Credit: Timothy Morgan )quot; Tuesday, April 14, 2009 You can *quot;see these strategies reflected in the color coding of behaviors on one subject’s timeline.+quot; This person begins by searching over MetaFilter; then posts questions on MetaFilter Twitter; #!quot; and finally IMs with a friend to get additional help. But as you can also see, these activities are interspersed with many other behaviors (as ##quot; expected) -- such as the gray bars: thinking/synthesizing the information he’s come across #$quot;
  15. 15. Task performance SS03 !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; !quot; !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; #quot; TIME $quot; %quot; OTHER THINKING RESPONSES? quot; 'quot; (quot; Photo Credit: Timothy Morgan )quot; Tuesday, April 14, 2009 You can *quot;see these strategies reflected in the color coding of behaviors on one subject’s timeline.+quot; This person begins by searching over MetaFilter; then posts questions on MetaFilter Twitter; #!quot; and finally IMs with a friend to get additional help. But as you can also see, these activities are interspersed with many other behaviors (as ##quot; expected) -- such as the gray bars: thinking/synthesizing the information he’s come across #$quot;
  16. 16. Tuesday, April 14, 2009 Of course, subjects were highly diverse in the strategies they employed, as can be seen by the various color coding patterns in their search episodes. This shows patterns for all 8 subjects (in the social condition). Some didn’t have an expert friend on hand -- (they didn’t have the “lifeline” to call.) Or they didn’t usually post questions to their friends on Facebook, for example. For this reason, not everyone performed all three social strategies.
  17. 17. Task performance !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; SS03 !quot; !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; !quot; #quot; !quot; !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; #quot; $quot; #quot; $quot; %quot; $quot; each line == one fact %quot; quot; %quot; quot; 'quot; quot; 'quot; (quot; 'quot; (quot; )quot; (quot; )quot; *quot; )quot; *quot; +quot; *quot; +quot; #!quot; +quot; #!quot; #!quot; ##quot; ##quot; ##quot; #$quot; #$quot; #$quot; #%quot; Tuesday, April 14, 2009 -./012quot;345quot; 607/18quot;9:;=quot; 607/18quot;9:/.=quot; ?8.@5.@Aquot; #%quot; #%quot; Next, we mapped the facts subjects found to the type of behavior they were engaged in. -./012quot;345quot; 607/18quot;9:;=quot; 607/18quot;9:/.=quot; ?8.@5.@Aquot; -./012quot;345quot; 607/18quot;9:;=quot; 607/18quot;9:/.=quot; ?8.@5.@Aquot; ...the size of the bubble represents the depth of processing of that one fact. And you can see that some facts do become synthesized more over time. [see fact #2, #3, #4, #5, #6]
  18. 18. Results #social #facts ID tactics discovered combining social tactics correlates better to performance S01 3 6 on our tasks than: S02 1 2 S03 3 8 social network size • S04 1 1 • network diversity S05 2 5 (as measured by the position generator) S06 2 1 background knowledge / intrinsic • S07 1 1 interest in topic S08 3 3 Spearman R: 0.77 Tuesday, April 14, 2009 We found that any one social tactic used on its own didn’t produce as good performance outcomes as combining social tactics together. This is reflected in both the total number of facts discovered in the session and how deeply users actually processed information (which isn’t elaborated on here). This suggests that accessing people with dierent technologies makes a dierence in their benefit to you.
  19. 19. Results “Now, what could I say?” deeper cognitive processing of information while: “Let’s see...what do I really want to be asking?” Composing the question Receiving Information More thinking, contemplation Network No pondering or mulling over of while crafting query (3/5 users) (Asking) network responses (0/4 users) Little thinking or reformulation Targeted More synthesis of information of problem statement (Asking) from friends’ replies (4/5 users) (2/7 users) Tuesday, April 14, 2009 And looking at the cognitive processing of information, this is absolutely what we saw. However the story is more nuanced than that: If we divided the search phase into the question and answering components: We found that users had more thinking and contemplation of their search problem while they were composing the question (e.g., when posting it to a social network...)
  20. 20. Results deeper cognitive processing of information while: Composing the question Receiving Information No pondering or mulling over of Network More thinking, contemplation network responses (0/4 users) (Asking) while crafting query (3/5 users) Little thinking or reformulation Targeted More synthesis of information of problem statement (Asking) from friends’ replies (4/5 users) (2/7 users) Tuesday, April 14, 2009 In contrast, users more deeply integrated and synthesized information from replies shared from friends who they interacted with one-on-one. This could be due to a number of dierent things. For one, replies on social networks tended to be goofy, silly, or o-target. They didn’t contain any facts that helped subjects advance their understanding of the search question. (In fact, when we followed up with these respondents, they reported wanting to start a conversation with our users rather than help with a substantive reply).
  21. 21. Results deeper cognitive processing More synthesis of of information while: information from friends’ replies (4/5 users) SS03 !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; !quot; !,!!,!!quot; !,!),#$quot; !,#,$quot; !,$#,%(quot; !,$*,*quot; !,%(,!!quot; #quot; $quot; %quot; Tuesday, April 14, 2009 We can see that users paused to think about shared information from targeted asking in one quot; subject’s timeline: The green (asking friends) and gray bands (thinking episodes) pattern each other. This is only illustrated for one subject, but was true for most of the subjects who 'quot; engaged (quot; targeted asking. in )quot; *quot;
  22. 22. Conclusions implications Tuesday, April 14, 2009 So we have seen how dierent types of social engagement benefit the search process. People serve as more than information resources; they also provide cognitive benefits! In particular we saw problem reformulation while posting questions on social
  23. 23. Acknowledgements A GREAT THANKS TO: Tuesday, April 14, 2009

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