FWF-P 25593-G22 - Implicit and Explicit Memory in Collaborative Tagging: A Dual Process Model for Investigating Encoding and Production of Tags in Social Web Environments

  • Seitlinger, Paul Christian (Co-Investigator (CoI))
  • Albert, Dietrich (Co-Investigator (CoI))

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project contributes to research on knowledge organisation in social software systems from a cognitive-psychological perspective by conducting two empirical studies in the context of Collaborative Tagging (CT). CT is a functionality of social Internet environments in which users collect resources (Websites, photos, music,…) collaboratively and describe them with freely chosen keywords (so called tags) for later retrieval. CT has become very popular and has great potential for knowledge organisation in social software systems and an equally big opportunity for cognitive science research. Major research efforts are currently being undertaken to understand tagging behavior and improve the effectiveness of such environments (e.g. through tag recommendation that should improve consistency in tagging and precision in information search). For this to become a reality, a better understanding of the user behaviour and the underlying cognitive processes are essential.
The projects builds on conceptions and research results of Fu (2008), Fu, Kannampallil & Kang (2009) and Held and Cress (2008) and aims to describe and explain CT from the viewpoint of cogni-tive psychology. The focus of attention lies on the imitating-behaviour of users, which several existing models consider to be essential for the emergence of a consistent tagging behaviour (Cattuto, Loreto & Pietronero, 2006; Fu et al., 2009; Halpin, Robu & Shepherd, 2007).
Drawing on dual-process models of word perception and production (Barsalou, Santos, et al., 2008; Nelson, Fisher & Akirmak, 2007), we analyse implicit/automatic and explicit/controlled processes underlying imitation. Empirical data are gathered by experimental paradigms of cognitive psychology and analyzed by multinomial models (Brainerd, Wright & Reyna, 2002; Buchner, Erdfelder & Va-terrodt-Plünnecke, 1995). The first study takes up results of our own research and examines the con-tributions of implicit and explicit memory representations to the production of tags as well as interac-tions with search strategies of users and lexical attributes of tags. The second study brings together results and methods of study 1 (and our precedent research) and attempts tag recommendation mechanisms that interact with automatic and controlled word processing and should foster the imitating behaviour of users in the organizational context of an enterprise department.
So far, studies in CT were constrained to unsystematically accruing data of already existing Internet environments. The emergence of the observed patterns of results have been explained in retrospect and reconstructed by means of computer simulations. In contrast, this project chooses experimental research designs for all three studies to allow systematic manipulations of independent variables, to directly measure cognitive processes and to draw valid conclusions about what causes differences in these dependent variables. The studies take place in a controlled laboratory-setting as well as in the real-world context of an enterprise department in order to achieve both high internal and high external validity.
Effective start/end date1/10/1331/03/16


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