The use of attention resources in navigation versus search

Ofer Bergman, Maskit Tene-Rubinstein, Jonathan Shalom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Personal information management research has consistently shown navigation preference over search. One possible explanation for this is that search requires more cognitive attention than navigation. We tested this hypothesis using the dual-task paradigm. We read a list of words to each of our 62 participants, asked them to navigate or search to a target file, and then compared the number of words recalled in each condition. Participants remembered significantly more words when retrieving by navigation than by search. The fact that they performed better at the secondary task when navigating indicates that it required less cognitive attention than search. Our results also cast doubt on the assumption that search is more efficient and easier to use than navigation: Search took nearly three times longer than navigation, was more vulnerable to mistakes and retrieval failures and was perceived as more difficult on a subjective evaluation. Our results also support the folk belief that women are better than men and that younger people are better than older ones, at multitasking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-590
Number of pages8
JournalPersonal and Ubiquitous Computing
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank our participants, Prof. Ruth Beyth-Marom, and Smadar Pilo. This research was partially funded by the European Union Marie Curie Grant, PERG-GA-2009-248997.

Funding

We thank our participants, Prof. Ruth Beyth-Marom, and Smadar Pilo. This research was partially funded by the European Union Marie Curie Grant, PERG-GA-2009-248997.

FundersFunder number
European Union Marie CuriePERG-GA-2009-248997

    Keywords

    • Attention
    • Dual-task paradigm
    • File retrieval
    • Personal information management

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