The effects of perceived chronic pressure and time constraint on information search behaviors and experience

Chang Liu, Ying Hsang Liu, Tom Gedeon, Yu Zhao, Yiming Wei, Fan Yang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    In this paper, we explore the effects of individual pressure level and time constraint on searchers' behaviors and their assessment of search experience within the framework of interactive information retrieval. A user experiment was conducted in which 40 participants individually searched for information in a laboratory setting under two conditions: with time constraint (TC) and with no time constraint (NTC). Participants filled in a Perceived Stress Scale questionnaire to measure their chronic pressure value (subjective stress), and their pressure value was recorded as their individual characteristic. The results showed that the more chronic pressure the searcher has, the more search efforts they devote, including more time in searching and more time to complete the search tasks, especially when there was no time constraint. Time constraint and searchers’ pressure value had a significant effect on users’ numbers of scrolling actions per minute. The results indicate that when given a time constraint, searchers with higher-pressure values tend to lower their reading or scanning speed, while searchers with lower-pressure values tend to accelerate their reading or scanning speed. The results suggested different people would react to the time condition change in different ways, especially people with higher pressure. Therefore, it is necessary to examine users’ search behaviors in person-in-situation frameworks to analyze the effects of contextual factors on users. This study contributes to our knowledge of how contextual factors and individual characteristics affect searchers’ behaviors and have implications for the design of IIR systems.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1667-1679
    Number of pages13
    JournalInformation Processing and Management
    Issue number5
    Early online date19 May 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


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