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Can Contextualization Increase Understanding During Man-Machine Communication? A Theory-Driven Study

By L.L Alpay, J Verhoef, D Te’eni, H Putter, P.J Toussaint and J.H.M Zwetsloot-Schonk


The Internet offers unlimited possibilities for finding health information. However, the user is often faced with the problem of understanding it. Contextualization has a role to play in enhancing the user’s comprehension. We report on a study which addresses this issue, using a theoretical model of communication whose central theme is that of context. A randomized controlled experimental design was chosen, using as a test-bed the website SeniorGezond we had previously developed. The study was composed of a pre-test, the intervention with the website and a post-test. Participants (n=40) were randomly assigned to exposure or no exposure to contextualization with the website. Results show that contextualization increases understanding for non-knowledgeable users. Furthermore, the participant’s cognitive style was found to be a significant factor on understanding. We also found that participants bring their own contexts such as social context and psychological context to support their understanding

Topics: Article
Publisher: Bentham Open
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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