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The dependent variable was brain activity revealed by the Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent signal

Understanding Information Need: An fMRI Study.

SIGIR, pp.335-344, (2016)

Cited by: 44|Views195
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Abstract

The raison d'etre of IR is to satisfy human information need. But, do we really understand information need? Despite advances in the past few decades in both the IR and relevant scientific communities, this question is largely unanswered. We do not really understand how an information need emerges and how it is physically manifested. Info...More

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Introduction
  • The main goal of Information Retrieval (IR) systems is to satisfy searchers’ information need (IN).
  • Given the core and fundamental role IN plays in an information seeking and retrieval process, over the last several decades much research has been dedicated to better understand this concept in both.
  • Copyrights for third-party components of this work must be honored.
  • C 2016 Copyright held by the owner/author(s).
Highlights
  • The main goal of Information Retrieval (IR) systems is to satisfy searchers’ information need (IN)
  • The dependent variable was brain activity revealed by the Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent signal
  • 5 http://www.BrainVoyager.com with information need, our results point to a particular region of the brain known as the posterior cingulate which is known to be a critical hub area involved in coordinating brain activity between the internal and external environment
  • Information need refers to a complex concept: at the very initial state of the phenomenon, even the searcher may not be aware of its existence
  • Several brain regions showed differential activity with information need, our results point to a particular region of the brain known as the posterior cingulate which is known to be a critical hub area involved in coordinating brain activity between the internal and external environment
Methods
  • 3.1 Research Questions and Hypothesis

    This paper studies the concept of information need from a neuropsychological perspective by investigating brain activity during periods in which an information need was induced.
  • The fMRI scanning environment is restrictive in that a participant must lay supine with their head kept still, and that only limited response/interactive devices can be in this scanning environment without causing signal or safety issues
  • This constraint led to the use of multiple choice questions for a task since it was possible to provide response using an MRI-compatible button box.
  • To achieve a suitable design for the questions about IN the authors adapted the methods used in related work in problem solving [47] which examined neural correlates of insight by comparing brain activity when a multiple choice response showed insight, to brain activity when a multiple choice response did not show insight
Results
  • A study with the procedure explained in Section 3.5 was conducted over 15 days from 7 December, 2015 to 22 December, 2015.
  • The key findings which emerged from the results are that the analysis of fMRI brain data revealed differences in brain activity due to whether participants experienced IN or not
  • These differences appeared sensitive to whether or not the IN was associated with making a search or deciding that a search would be necessary.
  • For all participants the authors contrasted brain activity when they provided an answer versus when they provided the response that they needed to search
  • The authors hypothesised that this contrast would reveal brain regions associated with successful memory retrieval and working memory when they responded with an answer, signifying No-IN.
Conclusion
  • DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

    This paper investigated the concept of information need from a neuropsychological perspective by investigating brain activity during periods in which an information need was induced.
  • Information need refers to a complex concept: at the very initial state of the phenomenon, even the searcher may not be aware of its existence.
  • This renders the measuring of this concept nearly impossible.
  • In order to do so, the authors devised a “within-subjects” design experiment where the independent variable was the information need, which was controlled by responding to questions viewed on the screen.
  • The dependent variable was brain activity revealed by the BOLD signal
Tables
  • Table1: Details of Scenario 1 activations, including their anatomic label, location, Brodmann Area (BA), effect size and volume
  • Table2: Details of Scenario 2 activations, including their anatomic label, location, Brodmann Area (BA), effect size and volume
Download tables as Excel
Related work
  • 2.1 IN Complexity and the IN-Query Gap

    IN is an essential concept and at the core of the information retrieval processes. When searchers realise an information need, they experience an anomaly in their current state of knowledge (ASK) [8]. As a result, search processes are initiated: Searchers transform their IN into a query and submit it to an IR system. In turn, the IR system retrieves potentially relevant documents, aiming to satisfy the IN. Subsequently, searchers evaluate retrieved documents, accumulating relevant information which leads them to satisfy their IN. Often, however, searchers are not satisfied with the results obtained in response to their initial query formulation [42], and thus must engage in further interaction with the system to resolve their need. Therein lies the complexity associated with the concept of IN.
Funding
  • This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council [grant number ES/L011921/1]
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