Project 11: Measuring and Modelling Cognitive Cost and Effort

Host Organisation: University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Interacting with information and information systems comes at a cost - mental and cognitive effort. However, instrumentation and methods for measuring the cost that systems and the information provided is limited, and so the focus of this project is to develop methods that can better qualify the costs of information-interactions. The main objectives of the project will be:

  • To understand implicit signals gathered through multiple sensors (e.g. eye tracking, galvanic skin response etc.) during an information seeking scenario in order to measure and understand different costs and effort in information seeking.
  • To characterise the role that different sensors can play in identifying different costs and effort for different stages of information seeking process.
  • To develop mechanisms and techniques to exploit the understanding of cost and effort measured through implicit feedback features

The desired outcomes of the project will be ideally be a better understanding of the concepts of cost and effort in information seeking, and mechanisms for measuring the costs through the implicit feedback process (using a range of sensors, eye tracking, mouse movements, fMRI). Beyond traditional search systems the outputs will have implications for a range of devices and interaction styles e.g. TV sets, GPS navigation, in car interaction etc. This will fill a glaring omission from current search system research - where this PhD project will create a series of new measures for cost and effort to more accurately model and evaluate systems and workflows.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 860721