Cognitive Strategies and Interface Designs

We study selective exposure effect, the preferential seeking of confirmatory information that can potentially exacerbate fragmentation of online opinions and lead to biased social perceptions and decisions. We design various interfaces and features and investigate how they can mitigate selective exposure and nudge people to look at diverse perspectives.

For example, we tested whether distinguishing information focusing on different issue aspects may encourage people to take different perspectives, thus moderate the negative influence of preexisting beliefs on information seeking. Specifically, we designed the 'aspect indicators' [1] that identify whether the given information is regarding the effectiveness or the side effects of a drug and investigated the impact on moderating selective exposure effect when seeking medical information.

In addition, we proposed the "source expertise indicator" [2] that influenced users’ information seeking behavior when using a system aggregating diverse opinions.
We also proposed "source position indicator" [3] showing both valence (pro/con) and magnitude (moderate/extreme) of position on controversial topics and showed how it influenced users’ selection and reception of diverse opinions in online discussions.

Interested in learning more about our studies? Check out the video and the publications below.


[1] Liao, Q. V. & Fu, W.-T. (2015). It Is All About Perspective: An Exploration of Mitigating Selective Exposure with Aspect Indicators. Sri Shilpa Mamidi. CHI 2015: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems [PDF]
[2] Liao, Q. V. & Fu, W.-T. (2014). Expert Voices in Echo Chambers: Effects of Source Expertise Indicators on Exposure to Diverse Opinions. In Proceedings of the ACM CHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. [PDF] [Nominated for Best Paper, top 5 %] [PDF]
[3] Liao, Q. V. & Fu, W.-T. (2014). Can You Hear Me Now? Mitigating the Echo Chamber Effect by Source Position Indicators. CSCW 2014: ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing. [PDF]