Internet 'searching' affects cognition, emotion more than 'surfing'

Posted By: Staff
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Washington, Nov 5 (ANI): While using internet people are more likely to remember and emotionally respond to material they encounter through "searching" compared to content found while "surfing", according to a University of Missouri study.

And sponsors use readers' physiological responses to online content for increasing advertising on pages most viewed.

"If, as these data suggest, the cognitive and emotional impact of online content is greatest when acquired by searching, then Web site sponsors might consider increasing their advertising on pages that tend to be accessed via search engines," said Kevin Wise, assistant professor of strategic communication and co-director of the Psychological Research on Information and Media Effects (PRIME) Lab at the University of Missouri.

In the study, researchers examined how methods for acquiring news - searching for specific content versus surfing a news Web site - affected readers' emotional responses while reading news stories.

They monitored participants' heart rate, skin conductance and facial musculature to gauge their emotional responses to unpleasant news.

The researchers found that unpleasant content triggered greater emotional responses when readers sought the information by searching rather than surfing.

In future studies, Wise will study the effects of acquiring pleasant content on readers' emotional responses.

"How readers acquire messages online has ramifications for their cognitive and emotional response to those messages. Messages that meet readers' existing informational needs elicit stronger emotional reactions," said Wise.

The researchers also found that information was better-understood and remembered when individuals conducted specific searches for information.

The study was recently published in the Journal of Media Psychology. (ANI)

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