ASIS&T 2013 Annual Meeting 
Montréal, Québec, Canada | November 1-5, 2013

Relationship Between Cognitive Styles and Users’ Task Performance in Two Information Systems

Xiaojun Yuan, University at Albany
Jingjing Liu, University of South Carolina

Monday, 1:30pm


Studies have shown that cognitive styles have some impacts on user performance in various types of systems. The current study focused on the effects of cognitive styles on users’ information-seeking task performance between an information visualization system and a generic information system. Thirty-two graduate students participated in a controlled laboratory experiment. Each completed an extended cognitive style analysis - wholistic analytic test (Extended CSA-WA test) on cognitive style, and then performed eight information search tasks, four analytical and four aspectual, in one of two systems: a text-based system, Web of Science, or a visualization system called CiteSpace. Users’ cognitive styles were shown to have effect on task performance. The Wholistic-Analytic (WA) ratio obtained from the CSA-WA test had significant correlation with result correctness for analytical tasks. Users with lower WA ratios were also found to have significant lower result satisfaction for analytical tasks than for aspectual tasks. Also, we found significant system effect on users’ search performance. These results indicate that cognitive style is an important factor affecting users’ performance, so is system interface design. We discussed the findings’ valuable implications for information system design.