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Dynamic Assessment of Information Acquisition Effort During Interactive Search

Michael J. Cole, Jacek Gwizdka, Chang Liu and Nicholas J. Belkin

ASIST 2011 Annual Meeting
New Orleans, LA, October 9-12, 2011


We present a method to measure some aspects of cognitive effort by a user while reading during a search session. In particular, we measure certain properties of reading eye movements and their patterns as the user processes text in a user study (n=32) where the participants carried out realistic IR work tasks in the journalism domain. The results show the cognitive effort measures correlate positively with the information task characteristics that, by hypothesis, contribute to task difficulty. They also correlate well with participant self-assessed task difficulty. Our methodology can be applied to eye tracking data in any (textual) information setting and used to give dynamic estimates of these aspects of cognitive processing during search.

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