An Extension to Simulated Web-Based Threats and Their Impact on Knowledge Communication Effectiveness

An Extension to Simulated Web-Based Threats and Their Impact on Knowledge Communication Effectiveness

Ruth Chatelain-Jardon (Texas A&M University – Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, USA), Jesus S. Carmona (Texas A&M University – Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, USA) and Ned Kock (Department of International Business and Technology Studies, Texas A&M International University, Laredo, TX, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJTHI.2016070105


This paper presents an extension to the study by Kock, Chatelain-Jardon, and Carmona (2008), An Experimental Study of Simulated Web-Based Threats and Their Impact on Knowledge Communication Effectiveness, and empirically validates their results. Kock and colleagues reported that enhanced memorization capacity can be used in computer interfaces to exploit knowledge communication. They evaluated the impact of an evolutionary adaptive web-simulated threat (simulated web-based snake attack) on the effectiveness of knowledge communication and reported positive and significant outcomes. This research extends their study by using a technology-related web-simulated threat and measuring its impact on knowledge communication effectiveness. This research showed that the subjects in the treatment condition performed approximately 34% better than those in the control condition, which, provides empirical support to the original study and shows how to exploit automatic brain mechanisms to enhance knowledge communication effectiveness throughout the design of computer interfaces.
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Ubiquitous technology has dramatically changed the way in which people communicate and interact, and knowledge communication is one of the activities that has been drastically affected by the existence of the technology. A fundamental factor that promotes or deters the effectiveness of web-based knowledge communication is the human–computer interface. An abundant body of research has accumulated in studies that try to improve interfaces by considering user needs through usability studies, which are carried out throughout the implementation process (Schnitman, 2007). However, few studies have considered the incorporation of automatic brain mechanisms in the design of human–computer interfaces (see Kock et al., 2008, 2008a, 2009). The goal of this research is to incorporate automatic brain mechanisms (instincts) into effective knowledge communication performance in the context of computer-based learning by extending the original study by Kock et al. (2008).

The central contribution of this research mainly comes from the unlimited application of its findings; this research suggests that selective incorporation of simulated web-based threats (regardless of the nature of the negative stimulus) on the computer interface would lead to enhanced memorization throughout the activation of the automated mechanism of surprise. The human race requires specific forms of environmental input for its development, but “all [its] mechanisms require particular forms of input to be activated and to function properly” (Buss, 1995, p.5). An involuntary and instinctive response to surprise, such as that of increased cognitive capacity in the presence of what is perceived as a threat, should be relatively easy to exploit with the use of a simulated negative stimulus. In the present study we demonstrate how to exploit automatic brain mechanisms (i.e., enhanced memorization capacity as a consequence of the activation of the mechanism of surprise) to enhance knowledge communication effectiveness throughout the design of computer interfaces. Consider, as an example, the inclusion of a web-simulated emergency in the middle of an online training for medical doctors or registered nurses, this could have a bi-fold effect on the training, potential life-saving decision making due to enhanced memorization (because of the surprise/unexpected element) of the topic at hand, and potential better performance during such an emergency since it may not be unexpected anymore.

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