Kevin WiseThis is an interesting piece of news. A latest study has discovered that readers may be able to understand better, remember and emotionally respond to material found via ‘searching’ in contrast to information found while ‘surfing.’

According to a 2009 Pew Internet and American Life Project survey, approximately 73 percent of all American adults make use of the internet on an every day basis. In addition, nearly half of these adults seem to utilize the web to find information through search engines, whereas 38 percent use it to pass the time.

Kevin Wise, assistant professor of strategic communication and co-director of the Psychological Research on Information and Media Effects (PRIME) Lab at the University of Missouri says, “If, as these data suggest, the cognitive and emotional impact of online content is greatest when acquired by searching, then website sponsors might consider increasing their advertising on pages that tend to be accessed via search engines.”

For the purpose of the study, University of Missouri scientists were believed to have analyzed how methods for getting news affected readers’ emotional responses while reading news stories. The methods of acquiring news appear to have included searching for precise content in contrast to surfing a news website. Furthermore, they examined participants’ heart rate, skin conductance and facial musculature in order to measure their emotional responses to unpleasant news.

“How readers acquire messages online has ramifications for their cognitive and emotional response to those messages. Messages that meet readers’ existing informational needs elicit stronger emotional reactions,” explains Wise.

The findings of the study revealed that unpleasant data seem to have caused greater emotional responses when readers looked for information by searching rather than surfing. Moreover, the authors found that information may have been better understood and remembered when individuals conducted specific searches for information.

In an earlier study, Wise was noted to have assessed the effects of searching and surfing on readers’ responses to images and found similar results. In upcoming studies, Wise will possibly study the effects of acquiring pleasant data on readers’ emotional responses.

The study, ‘The Effect of Searching Versus Surfing on Cognitive and Emotional Responses to Online News’ has been published in the Journal of Media Psychology.