Does an Interface with Less Assistance Provoke More Thoughtful Behavior?

Christof Van Nimwegen, Herre Van Oostendorp, Daniel Burgos, Rob Koper

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

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    This paper investigates effects of interface style and cognitive style on problem solving performance. It is often assumed that performance improves when information is externalized onto the interface. Although relieving working memory this may discourage planning, understanding and knowledge acquisition. When information is not externalized, it must be internalized, stored in the user’s memory, requiring more planning and thinking, perhaps leading to better performance and knowledge. Another variable possibly influencing behavior is cognitive style of users. We included “Need for Cognition” (NFC), the tendency to engage in cognitive tasks. We investigated the effects of interface style and NFC using planning tasks. The internalization interface led to more planful behavior and smarter solutions, but NFC had no effect. Understanding reactions to interface information is crucial in designing software aimed at education and learning. To facilitate active learning and provoke better performance, designers should take care in giving users (too) much assistance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2006


    • Interface
    • Cognitive
    • Externalizatoin
    • Internalization


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