Vieillissement cognitif et connaissances antérieures dans la recherche d'informations : étude des processus cognitifs et implications ergonomiques

Abstract : Searching for information with a search engine is a complex activity that requires users to perform a series of cognitive processes. Prior works showed that older users can have lower search performance, they spent more time on the search engine result pages and they produce fewer queries than young ones. Older users’ difficulties are mainly caused by the age-related decline of fluid abilities such as cognitive flexibility, processing speed or update in working memory. To understand the effects of aging on information search with a search engine, we studied the search strategies elaborated and the cognitive processes involved by young and older adults. The first part of the present work investigated how prior knowledge about the search topic can support older users’ on-line search behavior and help them deal with the search task complexity (2 experiments). The second part of our work analyzed the role of two information search support tools. One tool aimed at optimizing the benefits of domain knowledge by pre-activating prior knowledge (experiment 3) whereas the other aimed at supporting search goal refreshing in working memory (experiment 4). Results showed that older users had more difficulties evaluating the search engine results pages and reformulating than young ones (i.e. they produced fewer new keywords and used more keywords extracted from the search problem statement in their queries). The initial stage of the search represented a challenge for older users who formulated initial queries that were less elaborate and spent longer dwell time on the first search engine page than young ones. Prior knowledge can improve older users’ reformulation and support more elaborate search strategies. In addition, pre-activating prior knowledge can foster top-down search strategies and improve the semantic content of the queries produced by older users (especially in a domain for which they have low prior knowledge). The support tool helping search goal refreshing in working memory fostered more flexible search strategies and improved reformulation (i.e. reduced the time needed by older users to reformulate). Eventually, our research work led us to elaborate a new cognitive model of information search with a search engine that takes into account the role of aging.
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Mylène Sanchiz. Vieillissement cognitif et connaissances antérieures dans la recherche d'informations : étude des processus cognitifs et implications ergonomiques. Psychologie. Université Toulouse le Mirail - Toulouse II, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017TOU20102⟩. ⟨tel-02137408⟩

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