When searching for new information, do people focus their search on places not-yet discovered by others, or on places that others also focus on? Through a controlled experiment, we investigated heuristic rules that people adopt in social information search, a growing characteristic of how people find information in this hyperconnected world. Three people were connected online to simultaneously search for specific objects in multiple images, under either a cooperative or a competitive setting. They were provided with information about the current number of objects collected and the cumulative time spent on each image. People used such information to decide when to stop the current search and which image to explore next. Further, people paid more attention to others and distribute search efforts when cooperating, compared to when competing against others. Our findings highlight the heuristic rules that people adopt when searching in groups for new information.
- Information foraging
- Information scent
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Human-Computer Interaction