Blurring boundaries: Effects of device features on metacognitive evaluations

Kristy A. Hamilton, Mike Z. Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Many emerging technologies, such as our smartphones and computers, extend the capabilities of our cognitive systems by serving as external memory and sources of information. Despite such positive impacts, the increasingly ubiquitous human-computer partnership may fundamentally alter the ways in which humans perceive and evaluate themselves. This study examines features of technological devices that influence evaluations of personal knowledge (i.e., knowledge “in the head”). In two experiments, participants evaluated their cognitive abilities after using a technological device to find answers to trivia questions. In Experiment 1, participants who retrieved answers from the internet reported higher cognitive evaluations compared to participants who could not use the internet. Routine use of the device used to access the internet moderated this effect. In Experiment 2, participants who used their own device to find answers reported higher cognitive evaluations compared to participants who used a control device, and participants who used a smartphone reported higher cognitive evaluations compared to participants who used a laptop. We conclude by highlighting several variables emanating from both the sources present through the device interface (e.g., search engine), and the physical manifestation of the device itself, which may contribute to illusions of internal knowledge through technology use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-220
Number of pages8
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume89
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Keywords

  • Cognitive offloading
  • Information technology
  • Metacognition
  • Source confusion
  • Technology-mediated behavior
  • Transactive memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

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