Browse > Article

Cognitive Biases and Their Effects on Information Behaviour of Graduate Students in Their Research Projects  

Behimehr, Sara (Department of Library and Information Science, Kharazmi University)
Jamali, Hamid R. (School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University)
Publication Information
Journal of Information Science Theory and Practice / v.8, no.2, 2020 , pp. 18-31 More about this Journal
Cognitive biases can influence human information behaviour and decisions made in information behaviour and use. This study aims to identify the biases involved in some aspects of information behaviour and the role they play in information behaviour and use. Twenty-five semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted in an exploratory qualitative study with graduate (MA and PhD) students who were at the stage of their dissertation/thesis research. Eisenberg & Berkowitz Big6TM Skills for Information Literacy was adopted as a framework for interviews and the analysis was done using grounded theory coding method. The findings revealed the presence of twenty-eight biases in different stages of information behaviour, including availability bias (affects the preference for information seeking strategies), attentional bias (leads to biased attention to some information), anchoring effect (persuades users to anchor in special parts of information), confirmation bias (increases the tendency to use information that supports one's beliefs), and choice-supportive bias (results in confidence in information seeking processes). All stages of information seeking were influenced by some biases. Biases might result in a lack of clarity in defining the information needs, failure in looking for the right information, misinterpretation of information, and might also influence the way information is presented.
cognitive biases; information behaviour; information use; research; students;
Citations & Related Records
연도 인용수 순위
  • Reference
1 Griffith, E. E., Hammersley, S., & Kadous, K. (2013). Auditing complex estimates: Understanding the process used and problems encountered. SSRN Electronic Journal, Retrieved October 11, 2017 from
2 Heuer, R. J. (2007). Psychology of intelligence analysis. New York: Central Intelligence Agency.
3 Hinton, P. R. (2000). Stereotypes, cognition and culture. Hove, East Sussex: Psychology Press.
4 Hirshleifer, D. (2001). Investor psychology and asset pricing. The Journal of Finance, 56(4), 1533-1597.   DOI
5 Huang, H., Hsu, J. S., & Ku, C. (2012). Understanding the role of computer-mediated counter-argument in countering confirmation bias. Decision Support Systems, 53(3), 438-447.   DOI
6 Hussain, A., & Oestreicher, J. (2018). Clinical decision-making: Heuristics and cognitive biases for the ophthalmologist. Survey of Ophthalmology, 63(1), 119-124.   DOI
7 Ingwersen, P. (1992). Information retrieval interaction. London: Taylor Graham.
8 Ingwersen, P. (1996). Cognitive perspectives of information retrieval interaction: Elements of a cognitive IR theory. Journal of Documentation, 52(1), 3-50.   DOI
9 Ingwersen, P. (2001). Cognitive information retrieval. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 34, 3-52.
10 Ingwersen, P., & Jarvelin, J. (2005). Information retrieval in context: IRiX. ACM SIGIR Forum, 39(2), 31-39.   DOI
11 Ito, T. A., Larsen, J. T., Smith, N. K., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1998). Negative information weighs more heavily on the brain: the negativity bias in evaluative categorizations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(4), 887-900.   DOI
12 Lau, A. Y. S., & Coiera, E. W. (2009). Can cognitive biases during consumer health information searches be reduced to improve decision making? Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 16(1), 54-65.   DOI
13 Lind, M., Visentini, M., Mantyla, T., & Del Missier, F. (2017). Choice-supportive misremembering: A new taxonomy and review. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, Article 2062.
14 Ma, Y. (2016). Can more pictures bring more readership?: An examination of the "Picture superiority effect" in the news consumption process. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 236, 34-38.
15 Lomangino K. M. (2016). Countering cognitive bias: Tips for recognizing the impact of potential bias on research. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(2), 204-207.   DOI
16 Lowe, C. A., & Eisenberg, M. B. (2005). Big6 skills for information literacy. In K. E. Fisher, S. Erdelez, & L. McKechnie (Eds.), Theories of information behavior (pp. 63-69). Medford: Information Today.
17 Ludolph, R., Allam, A., & Schulz, P. J. (2016). Manipulating Google's knowledge graph box to counter biased information processing during an online search on vaccination: Application of a technological debiasing strategy. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(6), e137.   DOI
18 Miloff, A., Savva, A., & Carlbring, P. (2015). Cognitive bias measurement and social anxiety disorder: Correlating selfreport data and attentional bias. Internet Interventions, 2(3), 227-234.   DOI
19 Mohanani, R., Salman, I., Turhan, B., Rodriguez, P., & Ralph, P. (2018). Cognitive biases in software engineering: A systematic mapping study. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering. doi: 10.1109/TSE.2018.2877759.   DOI
20 Pick, K., & Merchant, A. K. (2010). Blind spots, biases and other pathologies in the boardroom. New York: Business Expert Press.
21 Jamali, H. R., & Shahbaztabar, P. (2017). The effects of internet filtering on users' information-seeking behaviour and emotions. Aslib Journal of Information Management, 69(4), 408-425.   DOI
22 Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect theory: An analysis of decision under risk. Econometrica: Journal of the Econometric Society, 47(2), 263-292.   DOI
23 Arnott, D. (2006). Cognitive biases and decision support systems development: A design science approach. Information Systems Journal, 16(1), 55-78.   DOI
24 Baron, J. (2008). Thinking and deciding (4th ed). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
25 Bazerman, M. H., & Moore, D. A. (2012). Judgment in managerial decision making. Hoboken: Wiley.
26 Behimehr, S., & Jamali, H. R. (2020). Relations between cognitive biases and some concepts of information behavior. Data and Information Management, 4(2), 1-10.   DOI
27 Keselman, A., Browne, A. C., & Kaufman, D. R. (2008). Consumer health information seeking as hypothesis testing. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association: JAMIA, 15(4), 484-495.   DOI
28 Kahneman, D., Slovic, P., & Tversky, A. (1982). Judgement under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
29 Kariofyllas, S., Philippas, D., & Siriopoulos, C. (2017). Cognitive biases in investors' behaviour under stress: Evidence from the London Stock Exchange. International Review of Financial Analysis, 54(2), 54-62.   DOI
30 Kayhan, V. (2015, December 13-16). Confirmation bias: Roles of search engines and search contexts. Paper presented at the Thirty Sixth International Conferences on Information System (CICIS), Fort Worth, TX. Retrieved August 25, 2017 from:
31 Kruglanski, A. W., & Ajzen, I. (1983). Bias and error in human judgment. European Journal of Social Psychology, 13(1), 1-44.   DOI
32 Kuhlthau, C. C. (1993). A principle of uncertainty for information seeking. Journal of Documentation, 49(4), 339-335.   DOI
33 Lau, A. Y., & Coiera, E. W. (2007). Do people experience cognitive biases while searching for information? Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association: JAMIA, 14(5), 599-608.   DOI
34 Pompain, M. M. (2006). Behavioral finance and wealth management: How to build optimal portfolios that account for investor biases. Hoboken: Wiley.
35 Rogers, E. M. (2010). Diffusion of innovations. New York: Free Press.
36 Schmutte, J., & Duncan, J. R. (2014). Making independence decisions under the code of professional conduct: Understanding and controlling common cognitive biases. The CPA Journal, 68-71.
37 Schweiger, S., Oeberst, A., & Cress, U. (2014). Confirmation bias in web-based search: A randomized online study on the effects of expert information and social tags on information search and evaluation. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 16(3), e94.   DOI
38 Behzadi, H., & Sanatjoo, A. (2019). Attributional style of emotions and its relationship with users' search behavior. Journal of Information Science, 45(1), 105-116.   DOI
39 Belkin, N. J. (1990). The cognitive viewpoint in information science. Journal of Information Science, 16(1), 11-15.   DOI
40 Benson, B. (2016). Cognitive bias cheat sheet. Better Humans. Retrieved November 22, 2017 from
41 Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1974). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Science, 185(4157), 1124-1131.   DOI
42 VandenBos, G. R. (2007). APA dictionary of psychology. American Psychological Association. Retrieved December 11, 2017 from
43 White, R. (2013, July 28-August 1). Beliefs and biases in web search. In G. J. F. Jones & P. Sheridan (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (pp. 3-12). ACM.
44 Wilke, A., & Mata, R. (2012). Cognitive bias. In V. Ramachandran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior (pp. 531-535). London: Academic Press.
45 Wilson, T. D., Ford, N., Ellis, D., Foster, A., & Spink, A. (2002). Information seeking and mediated searching: Part 2. Uncertainty and its correlates. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 53(9), 704-715.   DOI
46 Dobelli, R. (2013). The art of thinking clearly. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (FSG).
47 Birch, S., Brosseau-Liard, P. E., Haddock, T., & Ghrear, S. E. (2017). A 'curse of knowledge' in the absence of knowledge? People misattribute fluency when judging how common knowledge is among their peers. Cognition, 166, 447-458.   DOI
48 Blakesley, E. (2016). Cognitive bias and the discovery layer. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 42(3), 191.   DOI
49 Brown, M. A., & Stopa, L. (2007). The spotlight effect and the illusion of transparency in social anxiety. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 21(6), 804-819.   DOI
50 Ehrlinger, J., Readinger, W. O., & Kim, B. (2016). Decisionmaking and cognitive biases. Retrieved December 17, 2017 from
51 Eisenberg, M. B., & Berkowitz, R. E. (1990). Information problem-solving: The Big Six Skills approach to library and information skills instruction. Norwood: Ablex.
52 Ellis, D. (1989). A behavioural approach to information retrieval system design. Journal of Documentation, 45(3), 171-212.   DOI
53 Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago: Aldine.
54 Fidel, R. (2012). Human information interaction: An ecological approach to information behavior. London: The MIT Press.
55 Fleischmann, M., Amirpur, M., Benlian, A., & Hess, T. (2014, June 9-11). Cognitive biases in information systems research: A scientometric analysis. Paper presented at the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Tel Aviv, Israel. Retrieved February 20, 2017 from:
56 Ford, N., Wood, F., & Walsh, C. (1994). Cognitive styles and searching. Online and CD-ROM Review, 18(2), 79-86.   DOI