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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Confirmation Bias in Web-Based Search: A Randomized Online Study on the Effects of Expert Information and Social Tags on Information Search and Evaluation
Source JMIR Publications, 16, 3
Year 2014
Access date 04.06.2014

Background: The public typically believes psychotherapy to be more effective than pharmacotherapy for depression treatments. This is not consistent with current scientific evidence, which shows that both types of treatment are about equally effective.
Objective: The study investigates whether this bias towards psychotherapy guides online information search and whether the bias can be reduced by explicitly providing expert information (in a blog entry) and by providing tag clouds that implicitly reveal experts’ evaluations.
Methods: A total of 174 participants completed a fully automated Web-based study after we invited them via mailing lists. First, participants read two blog posts by experts that either challenged or supported the bias towards psychotherapy. Subsequently, participants searched for information about depression treatment in an online environment that provided more experts’ blog posts about the effectiveness of treatments based on alleged research findings. These blogs were organized in a tag cloud; both psychotherapy tags and pharmacotherapy tags were popular. We measured tag and blog post selection, efficacy ratings of the presented treatments, and participants’ treatment recommendation after information search.
Conclusions: We conclude that the psychotherapy bias is most effectively attenuated—and even eliminated—when popular tags implicitly point to blog posts that challenge the widespread view. Explicit expert information (in a blog entry) was less successful in reducing biased information search and evaluation. Since tag clouds have the potential to counter biased information processing, we recommend their insertion.

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Year of publication2014
Bibliographic typeJournal article