Knowledge Used for Information Search: A Computer Simulation Study
In this study, we investigated the types of knowledge utilized by users to search for information. Previous studies have emphasized the importance of acquiring the understanding of a hierarchical information structure. We defined the knowledge about such an information structure as “structural knowledge.” Recently, user interfaces (UIs) have provided information in a more graphical manner. Stimuli on the UIs’ displays have various properties (e.g., format, color, and size). We predicted that these perceptual features of the stimuli on the display, which we defined as “perceptual knowledge,” would be important for information searching. Three computer models were created for simulation: The Structural Knowledge model, which included only structural knowledge; the Perceptual Knowledge model, which included only perceptual knowledge; and the Mixed Knowledge model, which included both perceptual and partial structural knowledge. The simulation results showed that the Mixed Knowledge model could predict how human participants would search for information. We concluded that users utilize both perceptual and structural knowledge to search for information.
KeywordsInformation search Cognitive model Computer simulation User interface
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