A neuro-cognitive explanation for the prevalence of folder navigation and web browsing

Ofer Bergman, Yael Benn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We describe our mapping of the neural correlates associated with different ways by which users access digital information. Despite advances in search technology and its flexibility, users prefer to retrieve files using hierarchical folders navigation. This requires an explanation. In two studies, using a dual task and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we show that folder navigation uses brain structures involved in physical navigation, hence requiring little verbal attention. In contrast, search recruits classic language structures (Broca’s area). We further examine search versus browsing preferences on a popular supermarket website and show that users prefer browsing rather than searching for products. Qualitative analysis revealed that this preference was due to verbal-cognitive overload. Our next two studies will use the dual task paradigm and fMRI to examine the cognitive and neural correlates of search versus browsing in the web environment. We hypothesize that results will replicate our previous findings for files.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLecture Notes in Information Systems and Organisation
PublisherSpringer Heidelberg
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Information Systems and Organisation
ISSN (Print)2195-4968
ISSN (Electronic)2195-4976

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer International Publishing AG.


  • Dual task paradigm
  • Navigation
  • Search
  • Web browsing
  • fMRI


Dive into the research topics of 'A neuro-cognitive explanation for the prevalence of folder navigation and web browsing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this