Strange Bedfellows: Search and Neuroscience

June 17, 2011

Oh, fair science, thou has done it again!

If you thought you could objectively make selections, “Expertise Provides Buffer Against Bias in Making Judgments, Study Finds” may change your mind.  In taking a closer look at the human decision making process, researchers stumbled on what could be a small slice of gold for a number of fields.

To set the scene, twenty each of experts and non-experts were asked to evaluate artwork, while behind the scenes business sponsorships and monetary incentives were staged on certain paintings.  Per the article:

In the behavioral study, most non-experts preferred the paintings displayed next to the sponsoring logo of the company that they had been told was paying them, while there was no effect of sponsorship within the expert group.

Advertising companies seem to have been operating off of this principle for ages to push products and services.  Applying the results to the search field, one can consider that individuals without experience will also select hits based on their biases.  This filtering goes undetected and is inevitable.  So it practically goes without saying what easy targets said non-experts will be to fool with false assertions of what is perceived as credibility of a Web site.

Provided it steers clear of experts, did SEO just get a little easier?

Sarah Rogers, June 17, 2011

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