City Research Online

Curiosity driven search experiences

Millan Cifuentes, J. D. (2017). Curiosity driven search experiences. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Casual-Leisure Search describes any behaviour that allows people to express and satisfy hedonistic needs rather than information needs as part of the information-seeking process. For example, individuals who search their social media universe for hours after a long day at work may do so out of curiosity, to relax or for fun (e.g. exploring for the experience). Studies have shown that classical information seeking (IS) and interactive information retrieval models (IIR) have failed to represent them because they were created observing people in work related scenarios, and assuming that search is always a rational decision making process and with an extrinsic utilitarian value. The research described in this PhD work investigates IIR from the perspective of the psychological curiosity and leisure information seeking behaviour. Traditional search engines focus the user experience on satisfying users with topically relevant information (i.e. quick lookup search and then moving on), but they are limited supporting the discovery of unknown information because they fail to entice and engage users exploration as proxy to seek enjoyment both in leisure and work scenarios. The research described increases understanding of the role that curiosity plays in IIR and investigates the merits of incorporating the characteristics and function of human curiosity in the design of IIR systems. The research is grounded by the theoretical understanding of how human curiosity works. A review of appropriate psychological curiosity literature offers a means to critique existing IIR tools and a basis from which to start designing novel curiosity driven search tools. In the first experimental work, this research compared IIR behaviour between a standard query response paradigm and a curiosity driven search map prototype using social media content, and attempts to learn lessons from the behaviour that people show in everyday casual-leisure search scenarios. In the second experiment, this research contrast IIR behaviour between standard query-response paradigm and a curious adaptation of query-response paradigm using search notifications or recommendations for news reading in a social media leisure search scenario. The tools are evaluated to determine the usefulness of incorporating curiosity in the design of IIR systems, to learn about the effect in user engagement, how users exploration is increase when motivated by a hedonistic need, and then elaborate a set of design recommendations to enhance the search experience in leisure scenarios.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Science & Technology > School of Science & Technology Doctoral Theses
School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
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