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Preference-inconsistent recommendations: An effective approach for reducing confirmation bias and stimulating divergent thinking?

Authors
Journal
Computers & Education
0360-1315
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
58
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.compedu.2011.10.003
Keywords
  • Adult Learning
  • Human–Computer Interface
  • Navigation
Disciplines
  • Design

Abstract

Abstract The Web is a perfect backdrop for opinion formation as a multitude of different opinions is publicly available. However, the different opinions often remain unexploited: Learners prefer preference-consistent over preference-inconsistent information, a phenomenon called confirmation bias. Two experiments were designed to test whether technologies such as recommender systems can be used to overcome this bias. The role of preference-inconsistent recommendations was explored by comparing their influence to a condition with preference-consistent recommendations and to a control condition without recommendations. In Study 1, preference-inconsistent recommendations led to a reduction of confirmation bias and to a more moderate view of the controversial topic of neuro-enhancement. In Study 2, we found that preference-inconsistent recommendations stimulated balanced recall and divergent thinking. Together these studies showed that preference-inconsistent recommendations are an effective approach for reducing confirmation bias and stimulating divergent thinking. In conclusion, future research and practical implications are discussed.

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